A man has been jailed for harassing staff at a Letterkenny hostel.
Management at St Colmcille’s Hostel had to hire a security firm following repeated abuse by Leo Marley. The hostel also diverted their phones to the security company in the wake of the abuse.
Marley appeared before Letterkenny District Court on a series of charges, including urinating next to a water dispenser at Letterkenny University Hospital.
The 32-year-old, of no fixed abode, appeared via video link from Castlerea prison, where he is currently serving a sentence. Marley is also awaiting a trial before the Circuit Court.
Details of the incidents were outlined to the court by Sergeant Jim Collins.
The court heard that Marley attended St Colmcille’s Hostel in Letterkenny at 1.37pm on September 25, 2021. He was said to be a former resident of the facility and he ‘commenced a tirade, demanding that he be accommodated’.
Such was the level of threats and verbal abuse given by Marley, staff at the hostel were in fear.
Marley then continued to phone the hostel and be verbally abusive.
People at the hostel were in fear and they hired a security firm for a period.
Marley later apologised, Sergeant Collins said.
At 9.52am on September 10, 2022, Marley entered St Eunan’s Cathedral and spoke to the sacristan before speaking to a priest and was ‘looking for money’, the court heard. The priest was in fear as elderly people were arriving for morning Mass at the time. Marley was directed to leave the scene by gardai, but ‘ran up and down’ and was described as being ‘aggressive’. When he later sobered up at Letterkenny Garda Station, Marley was ‘apologetic and contrite’.
Gardai were called to the emergency department at Letterkenny University Hospital at 2.50am on September 11, 2022. While gardai were present, they observed Marley urinating beside a water dispenser. The incident was captured on CCTV. Marley was said to have been highly intoxicated and aggressive towards people present. Sergeant Collins said there was a ‘negligible cost’ in the clean up.
On September 24, 2022, gardai responded to a call about a male wearing a balaclava walking through traffic on Port Road. The man, now known to be Marley, was being verbally abusive to gardai and to others who were present.
Marley was also charged in relation to an incident at Sessiaghoneill, Ballybofey on September 26, 2022. Gardai were preserving a scene and Marley approached a patrol car being ‘aggressive and abusive’. Marley attempted to gain entry to a property via a locked door and he had to be pepper sprayed by gardai.
Marley, who has 64 previous convictions, has been in custody since November and was due for release in a month.
Sergeant Collins informed the court that when sober and off substances Marley is ‘very helpful and respectful’.
Mr Gallagher said his client has ‘been on the books for some time, on and off’.
“The matters are of some vintage,” he said. “Mr Marley had a very unlucky upbringing and his parents died young. He had a problem with a roof over his head and found himself homeless at a very young age.”
Mr Gallagher told the court that Marley ‘fell under the influence of other peers’ and that he ‘succumbed to drugs’. However, he said Marley has since got ‘back on the straight and narrow’ and has received the necessary medication and treatment since being in custody.
“He understands that he has a road to travel and he wishes to draw a line in the sand,” Mr Gallagher added.
For the charge of harassment, which is contrary to section 10 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, 1997, Marley was sentenced to 12 months in prison by Judge Ciaran Liddy. The final six months of the sentence was suspended for two years with credit to be given for time already served in prison.
The remaining matters were marked as taken into consideration by Judge Liddy.