A YOUNG man who lashed out and punched a female garda in the face was described as a “complete coward” by a judge as he sentenced him to nine months in prison.
Jonathan Lysaght, aged 28, of Colbert Avenue, Janesboro pleaded guilty to assaulting Garda Niamh Briggs, causing her harm, during an incident at his home on March 12, last.
Limerick Court was told gardai had called to Lysaght’s home after they received a complaint from his former partner that he had taken their three-year-old daughter without her permission.
Judge Eugene O’Kelly was told Lysaght and his former partner had an agreement regarding access but that he had taken the child because of difficulties over access a number of days earlier.
Sgt Donal Cronin said the defendant was violent and aggressive towards Garda Briggs when she arrived at his home and he said he was “shouting and roaring” in her face when she asked to the see the child, who was inside the house with his mother.
“He was extremely, extremely aggressive,” said Sgt Cronin who told the court that Garda Briggs - an international rugby player - sustained dental damage when she was punched in the face.
Lysaght appeared before the court after gardai executed a bench warrant which was issued for his arrest last year when he failed to appear in court.
Solicitor John Herbert said his client had not appeared in court as he had travelled abroad to work.
He conceded that Lysaght had been out of the jurisdiction for a number of months but he said he had immediately contacted gardai following his return.
In relation to the assault of Garda Briggs, Mr Herbert said the situation was entirely of Lysaght’s own making.
“He should not have behaved the way he did. Matters got out of control and he apologises”.
Imposing sentence, Judge Eugene O’Kelly said gardai have “a difficult enough job to do without having to face this sort of aggression”.
The judge described Lysaght as a “violent and dangerous bully” and he commented that he has a “dreadful” criminal record
While accepting the DPP’s views, he said it was a “borderline” case which could have been heard in the circuit court. “How dare he try and solve his domestic difficulties by punching a garda in the face,” said the judge.
Lysaght was sentenced to nine months imprisonment for the assault and he was fined €300 for not appearing in court last summer.