A LETTERKENNY man has been spared a prison sentence after appearing in court on a catalogue of offences.
They included an incident in which he spat in a Garda’s face and told him he had Coronavirus.
Judge Paul Kelly warned Donal Kelly that if he doesn’t co-operate with the Probation Service, he will be left with no alternative.
Kelly (23) of Windmill View, Glencar, Letterkenny, was given 200 hours of community services, in lieu of 10 months in prison. Kelly was before Letterkenny District Court on 25 charges relating to a variety of dates between 2018-2020.
On May 25, 2019, Kelly spat on Garda Quinn after being arrested following a public order incident in Letterkenny.
Gardaí received a report of an altercation at the Orchard and observed Kelly walking in the middle of the High Road. He was staggering, bleeding from his ear and shouting in an abusive manner. The aggressive behaviour continued at Letterkenny Garda Station, where Kelly refused to be search and threatened to assault officers.
In the course of this, he spat in the face of Garda Quinn and lashed out at other members before being taken under control and placed in a cell.
On May 9, 2020, Gardaí arrived at Market Square, Letterkenny and spoke to two males who were shouting and roaring. Gardai reminded the two men of Covid-19 guidelines. Kelly, whose eyes were dilated and was highly intoxicated replied: ‘For fuck sake, sham. Fuck you, rat bastard’. Kelly continued to be aggressive until his release.
On January 18, 2019, Kelly assaulted two men at Dr McGinley Road. The incident was captured on CCTV and shows Kelly kicking a man after putting him to the ground. Another man attempted to intervene and Kelly punched him.
Kelly was also charged with an assault on Victor Byrne at McDonald’s, Letterkenny. Kelly struck Byrne on the face and threw a tray containing food items at the victim.
Kelly was charged with criminal damage to windows of a house and a car at Glenn Rua, Letterkenny on April 4, 2019. “There was a dispute over matters, as it were,” Sergeant Jim Collins told the court. “Matters were of a clandestine nature.”
The court heard that Kelly became abusive to Gardaí and used ‘derogatory’ language to female Gardai on another date.
Kelly was charged with an assault on a man at the Snug 39 bar on March 13, 2020, when he stole €108 worth of drink. When Gardaí arrived at the scene, Kelly shouted: ‘fuck you rat bastards, I’ve got coronavirus’.
Kelly was charged with assaulting a man at Glendale, Letterkenny. Sergeant Collins said Kelly bit the injured party after being abusive to his partner. Images of the injuries were submitted to the court.
On March 16, 2020, two drunk males were said to be ‘going mad’ on Convoy Main Street at 10.45am, one of whom was known to be Kelly. Gardaí said Kelly became verbally abusive to Gardaí and to members of the public.
When Gardaí attempted to arrest Kelly, he spat in the face of Garda Keown. Officers deployed pepper spray in order to bring Kelly, who shouted that he had coronavirus, under control.
The court heard of a further incident when Kelly was charged with throwing a knife.
Defence solicitor Mr Frank Dorrian said that the flick knife was ‘used as a missile rather than a sphere’. “It was closed,” he pointed out.
“The over-arching difficulty here is addiction,” Mr Dorrian said.
“This affects every aspect of his life. He has been seen to be effectively shouting at the rain when he is out and about. His state of inebriation is quite alarming and it is visible.
“The real pollutant at work here is that he is at the recourse of a headshop-type improvised substance, the effect of which is known to no-one other than the corrosive elements on someone’s outlook.
“He is extremely polite and deferential when in the environs of the courtroom, but he is unmanageable when taking this substance.”
Mr Dorrian said his client’s behaviour was at times ‘bizarre and irrational’.
Kelly’s conduct towards the Gardaí was ‘disgraceful’, Mr Dorrian said. “His mother is clearly horrified and quite upset at the language used to the Gardaí.
“My client’s capacity is fairly limited and he was availing of any profanity that becomes available.”
Mr Dorrian said Kelly appears to have ‘addressed his addition’ and said that the most recent Probation Service report offered ‘a ray of light’.
Kelly’s ongoing behaviour, however, he said was ‘a recipe for a one-way ticket to Roscommon’.
Judge Kelly noted that the accused had been granted bail in August 2018 and all subsequent offences were committed while he was on bail.
The Probation Service reported that last July, Kelly attended their first session but failed to attend two subsequent appointments.
The Probation Service said that addiction had a ‘hold’ of Kelly, who they said could be classed as a ‘high risk’ of reoffending.
Kelly’s participation in a programme with the Probation Service ceased when it was moved online, Judge Kelly said.
Kelly is now attending weekly appointments and is seeing a councellor on a weekly basis. This, the Probation Service said, had ‘reduced rather than ceased his consumption’.
For the attack on the two men on Dr McGinley road, Judge Kelly gave Kelly 40 hours of community service in lieu of two months imprisonment.
For the assault on Victor Byrne at McDonald’s, Kelly was given 60 hours of community service in lieu of three months in prison.
Kelly will undertake 40 hours of community service, in lieu of two months behind bars, for the criminal damage at Glenn Rua and a penalty of 60 hours community service was handed down for the assault at Glendale in lieu of three months in prison.
For the two spitting attacks on members of An Garda Síochána and the incidents at the Snug 39 bar, Kelly was ordered into a 12-month probation supervision bond, on his own bond of €200. He is to comply fully with the directions and recommendations of the Probation Service during this period.
Judge Kelly marked the other charges into consideration.