Dad orders five-year-old daughter to ‘hit’ gardai

Donal O’Regan


Donal O’Regan

Solicitor, Michael O'Donnell: Client very connected to horse
A FATHER told his five-year-old daughter to hit gardai who were removing a pony from a green area, a court has heard.

A FATHER told his five-year-old daughter to hit gardai who were removing a pony from a green area, a court has heard.

The little girl was holding a horse file, used on hooves, at the time.

Frank Cleary, aged 40, of Templegreen, Newcastle West, was sentenced to one month in prison for failing to comply with the direction of gardai and fined €500 under the Control of Horses Act.

Judge Mary Larkin asked what kind of example is that for a parent to set their five-year-old child?

Garda Mark Mannix said at 12.15pm on October 2 he and Garda William McElligott attended Templegreen after a report of a horse on the green.

“We attempted to remove the horse during which Frank Cleary attempted to stop us. He used foul and abusive language and told us repeatedly to ‘f*** off’.

“He resisted arrest. His daughter came out during the struggle and he ordered his daughter to assault us,” said Garda Mannix. After gardai “managed to put handcuffs” on Cleary he was brought to Newcastle West garda station.

He has 39 previous convictions.

Cleary’s solicitor, Michael O’Donnell, said his client apologised to gardai.

“It was a genuine apology and he showed remorse. He was very connected to the horse. It was a small pony,” said Mr O’Donnell.

Judge Larkin asked why the pony wasn’t in a field or a paddock?

“His child brought it around to the green,” said Mr O’Donnell.

“This is getting worse,” said Judge Larkin.

Garda William McElligott took the stand and said the pony was tied to a tree.

“There was evidence it was there for a number of days. As we approached the pony Mr Cleary got out of a van. We informed him the pony was being seized. I asked him had he a licence and he said no.

“He became very obstructive saying, ‘You’re not taking my f***ing pony’. He told his daughter ‘hit them, hit them’,” said Garda McElligott.

There was then a discussion about the size of the pony in the court room.

Using his hand Cleary demonstrated how high the pony was and Mr O’Donnell said “about two and a half foot”.

Judge Mary Larkin: “A five-year-old cannot take a pony to a green and tie it to a tree. It is not believable.”

Mr O’Donnell said Cleary bought the pony as a present for his daughter.

Judge Larkin said she didn’t like the sound of it [the case].

“The fact that gardai can’t carry out their lawful duty without getting kicked and abused with foul language. What kind of an example is that to a five-year-old child,” said Judge Larkin.

Superintendent Helen Deely applied for a destruction order on the horse file.

After sentencing recognaissance was fixed in the event of an appeal.