Polish pair who smashed window in Limerick garda station and threatened gardai are jailed

Gerard Fitzgibbon

Reporter:

Gerard Fitzgibbon

TWO Polish men who smashed windows at Newcastle West garda station and beckoned gardai to “come out and start fighting” have been jailed for five months each.

TWO Polish men who smashed windows at Newcastle West garda station and beckoned gardai to “come out and start fighting” have been jailed for five months each.

Maciej Bozek, 25, of Curraghbreen, Castletroy and Marusz Kalandyk, 31, of Portland Drive, Newcastle West pleaded guilty at Newcastle West Court this Tuesday to public order and criminal damage charges following the incident on March 24.

The pair also pleaded guilty to failing to turn up in court last month on the same charges.

Supt Dan Flavin told the court that at 9.25pm on the date in question the accused pair entered the garda station and “started to break the window on the hatch”, before then breaking glass on a small double door.

The pair then started throwing the glass at the hatch and threatened the gardai inside, “cursing at them” and beckoning them to “come out and start fighting”.

The pair then fled the station on foot but were pursued and arrested a short time later on Church Street. Supt Flavin said that the total cost of the damage to the station that the men caused was €1,128.75.

The court heard that neither accused has any previous criminal convictions in Ireland, however Bozek has eleven convictions in Poland, including two years in prison in 2009 for robbery, and eight months in jail in 2007 for causing criminal damage. He also has a drink driving conviction in the UK.

Kalandyk, meanwhile, has five previous convictions in Poland, dating back to 1999.

Solicitor Vivian O’Shea, defending, said that the incident took place after gardai had seized a car which both accused men were driving to get to and from work.

They then went to the garda station to “try and understand why it was taken”, but as neither man speaks good English, there was a “misunderstanding” which “escalated”, and led to both men engaging in’ “unforgivable” behaviour.

Regarding their failure to appear in court to face the charges on June 5, Ms O’Shea again pointed to “a misunderstanding” arising from the language barrier.

Both men had earlier appeared at Limerick City District Court, and they mistakenly believed that the matter had been dealt with, the court was told.

Ms O’Shea said that Mr Bozek was “more than willing” to pay for half of the total cost of the damage, and requested a one month adjournment in order to do so.

The court heard that both men have children living in Poland. Ms O’Shea said that Mr Bozek had worked as an insulation fitter before the incident, but is now unemployed.

Judge Mary O’Halloran sentenced both men to a total of five months in prison for criminal damage and using threatening and abusive behaviour, and also handed each a one month concurrent sentence for failing to appear in court.