Judge Mary Larkin
A MOTHER of eight who was caught up in a disturbance outside Newcastle West courthouse last Thursday was fined €250 for failing to comply with the directions of a garda officer.
But solicitor Tracey O’Brien, pleading for her client, Margaret O’Connor, 35 Holycross Place, Charleville, claimed she was intervening and trying to calm the situation and get people to go home.
“She was not calming anybody down. She was inflaming the situation outside,” Garda Cronin, the arresting officer said.
Earlier during the court sitting, he said, there was a disturbance in the court room and Mrs O’Connor’s son was removed from the court.
“Tensions carried on outside,” he said. “I asked Mrs O’Connor to calm down and asked her to leave the vicinity in a peaceful and orderly manner. I issued this direction on six separate occasions. Each time she failed to comply.”
“She will say she was simply trying to get people to go home,” Ms O’Brien said.
“Is she saying she is hard of hearing and didn’t hear the Section 8 direction six times? “ Judge Mary Larkin asked.
“This is conduct that is entirely unacceptable,” she continued, but added that unfortunately it was now becoming common outside her courthouse.
“I heard threats being issued here in front of me in this court. She goes outside. She is told six times to go away and she doesn’t do so. Either we have the rule of law or we have no rule of law,” the judge continued.
She was unable to understand how people didn’t show a little bit of self preservation, she added. “If a garda tells you to walk on, you go.”
“She should have led by example,” Inspector Brian O’Donovan said. “Six times to ask her to desist, it is not good enough.”
Judge Larkin imposed the €250 fine but fixed recognizance at the defendant’s own cash bond of €150.