A JUDGE decided to give a Southill man with a “dreadful record a chance” and spare him a prison sentence after hearing that he has “turned a corner” in his life and is tackling his drug addiction.
Limerick District Court heard that Jeffrey O’Donoghue, 38, with an address in O’Malley Park, had been telling passers-by on the street to “f*** off” while under the influence of alcohol.
O’Donoghue, who has 53 previous convictions, appeared before Judge Eugene O’Kelly on four public order charges, and a charge of obstruction.
On September 15, 2001, gardai obtained a warrant to search his flat on William Street. A wrap of heroin was found, but the defendant refused to hand it over to gardai and was arrested and restrained. He was charged with intoxication in a public place and being threatening and abusive on two separate occasions - on Little Ellen Street on March 30 this year, and on Cruises Street on September 1.
Solicitor John Devane said his client is now tackling his addiction, and has found a place to live through Focus Ireland.
At the time of these offences Mr Devane said the accused had an addiction to alcohol and was homeless.
“However he appears to have turned a corner somewhat,” he said.
“When do you believe he turned a corner,” asked Judge O’Kelly.
Mr Devane said his client’s life has improved since he found a steady place to live in the past four months. “I’m pleased to hear he’s tackling his addiction, but he has a dreadful record. I don’t wish to encourage him back around that corner, and will give him a chance,” said the judge.
He imposed a four month prison sentence, suspended for eight months, on one of the public order charges. He will be bound to the peace for that period, or risk revoking the terms of the suspended sentence. He is due to undertake 18 hours of community service in lieu of four months in prison on another public order charge. He has been remanded on continuing bail until a community service report is available to the court. He received a fine of €150 on the obstruction charge.