Solicitor Michael O'Donnell
A LIMERICK man who spat blood at a garda was convicted of assault and sentenced to five months imprisonment.
“I know it is quite severe but I feel I have no alternative,” Judge Mary Larkin said imposing sentence on Patrick Quilligan, O’Connor Park, Ardagh for an incident which occurred at Newcastle West Garda Station on May 30, 2018.
Noting that Mr Quilligan had pleaded to the charge and that he hadn’t put the garda to additional worry by submitting to a blood test himself, she said:
“I just cannot condone that the Garda Síochána, who are doing their best, and were doing their best, should be subject to this kind of behaviour. It is absolutely appalling that they should be spat at, and spat at and have the additional worry of being infected or whatever.” The court had to take a line to indicate the “total unacceptability” of the action, the judge said.
Earlier, Inspector Pádraigh Sutton said that on May 30, 2018, Patrick Quilligan had been brought to the garda station in Newcastle West by a member of the public as he had been beaten up down town.
But while Mr Quilligan was waiting for his mother to arrive, the inspector said, things deteriorated in the front yard and Mr Quilligan became abusive and disorderly.
When Garda H went to arrest him, Mr Quilligan “spat blood from his mouth” at the garda. The garda had since undergone tests and everything was clear, the inspector said.
Pleading for his client, solicitor Michael O’Donnell said Mr Quilligan had received quite a bad beating in the town. At the garda station, the gardai had called an ambulance and Mr Quilligan’s mother. When the ambulance arrived, Mr Quilligan “didn’t see fit to go” and when his mother arrived, he got “quite aggressive.” He was being brought back into the station by Garda H but “didn’t spit at the garda intentionally”
“He had taken a lot of tablets. He was in a mess in the garda station,” Mr O’Donnell said. “The garda was doing his best for him.”
“He spat into the face and eyes and mouth of Garda H,” the inspector said.
Mr O’Donnell acknowledged the concern and worry of the garda but said that his client had consented to have his blood tested. He sought recognisance with leave to appeal, which was granted.