Man punched taxi-driver in face and warned him to drop case

March 1, 2023

A Letterkenny man who punched a taxi driver later threatened his victim that he would be ‘in big bother’ if he didn’t drop the complaint to Gardai.

Donal Kelly, a 25-year-old of Windmill View in Letterkenny, appeared before Letterkenny District Court this week.

Kelly, who has 35 previous convictions, was before the court on charges relating to incidents on six different dates, including assault, theft, criminal damage and possession of illegal drugs.

The defendant pleaded guilty to all matters.

Sergeant Jim Collins outlined the details of the charges to the court.

At 7.15pm on March 14, 2020, at Ramelton Road, Letterkenny, two males – one of whom was Kelly – approached a taxi man and punched him on the face, causing bleeding and swelling.

On September 30, 2021, at Market Square, Letterkenny, Kelly punched the window of a taxi before opening the door and telling the driver: ‘If you don’t drop the charges, you’ll be in big bother’. CCTV was obtained and Kelly made admissions when interviewed.

Kelly was also before the court on several other charges.

On June 21, 2020, a woman complained that her vehicle, a red Skoda Octavia, was damaged by Kelly at Glencar Shopping Centre.

The woman was in the car with her daughter when Kelly damaged the window of the car using his mobile phone.

In the course of executing a warrant under the Misuse of Drugs Act on January 16, 2021, at Windmill View, Letterkenny, Gardai located a quantity of drugs, namely €80 worth of speed.

Kelly was also charged with an incident at Lower Main Street, Letterkenny, on January 20, 2022. Kelly walked past Gardai, who were on mobile patrol, gave them the finger and began to shout and swear in their direction. He was charged with an offence under Section 6 of the Public Order Act.

Kelly was charged with the theft of alcohol to the value of €13.40, the property of Paddy McGinley, from a shop at the Cill an Oir Complex, Killyclug, on June 22, 2022.

Kelly was seek walking into the off licence of the shop and placing the items under his jacket. The stolen products were not retrieved.

Solicitor for Kelly, Mr Frank Dorrian said his client had ‘irreparably harmed himself’ and had a ‘shambolic lifestyle with an uncertain future’.

“He has a very simplistic view of the world and he makes his best endeavours every day,” Mr Dorrian said.

“He has lived a life of some disadvantage. An intellectual difficulty was compounded by addiction and he was the person who tended to be pushed to the front of a crowd trying to develop trouble. He would be a willing participant.”

Mr Dorrian said Kelly became addicted to alcohol when he was 15 and developed an addiction to drugs thereafter.

Mr Dorrian said Kelly attended Cenacolo House in Knock, where there is a residential programme to aid those suffering from addiction.

“People are brought to a very straightforward lifestyle to recalibrate,” Mr Dorrian said. “It is a very Spartan and monastic existence.”

Sergeant Collins told the court that Kelly has 35 previous convictions.

“There seems to be a pattern and they are all very relevant,” Judge Éiteáin Cunningham said.

The case was adjourned to allow for the production of a probation and welfare report.