A MAN has been taken into garda custody following a fight at Limerick courthouse this Wednesday morning.
The violence erupted during a sitting of Limerick court shortly before 11.30am, forcing Judge Eugene O’Kelly to rise from the bench for almost 15 minutes.
Around half a dozen gardai had to intervene after two men - both aged in their early 20s - began arguing at the back of the packed courtroom.
At one point, the two men were standing face-to-face in the public gallery and one of them was punched in the face during the incident, which lasted mere seconds.
One of them was immediately taken into custody, while the other was ordered to calm down and leave the courthouse by gardai.
After returning to the court, Judge O’Kelly ordered that the man in custody be taken to a garda station so he could be questioned about the incident,
Noting that the man had pleaded guilty to separate criminal damage and public order offences, the judge said he was not willing to deal with that case as he had witnessed what happened in the courtroom.
“I don’t want there to be any suggestion of prejudice, I’m not going to sentence him, I’m going to let another judge deal with the matter,” he told solicitor Sarah Ryan.
The judge said the outbreak of violence was not acceptable and that he would not tolerate such behaviour in the courtroom.
Later, he said it was understandable if some members of the public “were panicked, given the carry on in court”.