A WIDOW who was before the courts charged with a litany of offences including making several 999 calls to the gardai and emergency services, spitting in the face of a garda, and causing a disturbance in an adoration chapel, is to undergo a psychiatric assessment to establish her mental state and fitness to plea.
Christine Horgan, aged 55, who has addresses at The Cottage, Fortlands, Charleville, and Bruhenny, Churchtown, Mallow was before Kilmallock Court charged with four counts of failure to comply with the direction of a member of the gardai, four counts of engaging in threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour in a public place, and three counts of obstructing a peace officer.
The offences are alleged to have happened at various locations in Charleville on dates between September 7, 2011 and May 23, 2012.
Superintendent Alan Cunningham of Bruff garda station alleged that on January 24, 2012 the defendant made numerous 999 calls requesting the services of both the gardai and the ambulance service.
He said it is the prosecution case that when the gardai came to her assistance, the defendant verbally abused them and lashed out with her fists at the patrol car.
Supt Cunningham said that Horgan was asked to leave the area but failed to do so.
He alleged that Horgan then became aggressive with the ambulance crew who arrived on the scene.
“She had to be physically restrained by the gardai because of her aggressive behaviour,” said Supt Cunningham.
The court heard that on May 14, 2012, the gardai received a number of calls in relation to the defendant’s behaviour at a number of public houses in the Charleville area.
Supt Cunningham said the defendant was arrested under the Public Order Act.
The court further heard that on May 23, 2012, gardai received a report that the defendant was causing a disturbance at the adoration chapel at the local church. Supt Cunningham said that when the gardai attempted to remove the defendant from the church she began “shouting and screaming” at the gardai.
Supt Cunningham said that Horgan was again asked to leave in a peaceful manner. He alleged that after she was removed from the church, she tried to re-enter the church and had to be arrested. In further evidence, the court heard that on September 7, 2011 at 6pm, gardai were called to a phone kiosk at Main Street, Charleville where a woman had dialled the 999 emergency line stating that she was in distress.
Supt Cunningham said that on arrival at the scene, gardai spoke to the defendant who allegedly demanded to be driven home.
When the gardai explained that legally they couldn’t drive her home, the defendant became “abusive and aggressive”.
Supt Cunningham alleged that she “lashed out” and hit the side window of the car with her fist after she was told to calm down.
The court heard that when Horgan was asked to leave the area, she became “more and more aggressive” and allegedly “punched and lashed out at the gardai”.
Supt Cunningham alleged that Horgan hit one of the gardai in the chest and was then arrested.
“She became so violent she spat into the face of the garda and had to be handcuffed,” claimed Supt Cunningham who added that Horgan also shouted abuse at gardai and at passers-by.
The court heard that Horgan, a widow with five children, has significant difficulties with alcohol and also has psychiatric difficulties.
Defence solicitor, Brendan Gill, said Horgan’s husband passed away a number of years ago.
He said his client’s actions stemmed out of loneliness as much as anything else.
“She tells me that she suffers greatly from her nerves and from depression as well,” said Mr Gill who added that his client is in receipt of disability benefit.
Mr Gill said his client needed some form of intervention.
Judge Mary Larkin said before proceeding with the case she would have to direct an enquiry into the defendant’s mental state.
Judge Larkin made an order to establish Horgan’s mental state and fitness to plea and to establish if she should be sectioned under the Mental Health Act. Horgan was remanded in custody to Limerick Prison for seven days to appear before Newcastle West Court this Thursday, February 21.
Horgan is to appear before the courts on March 7 in relation to a charge of burglary in Charleville on December 20 last.