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Teacher harassed by former student for social media video


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Teacher harassed by former student for social media video Teacher harassed by former student for social media video

A 22-year-old Galway man told a former teacher he would “knock him out” before posting a video of the threatening encounter on social media, a court has heard.

The teacher was with his family in the Eyre Square Centre when the incident occurred, Galway District Court was told last week.

After hearing evidence, Judge Fahy asked David Onanuga if posting the video made him feel like a “big man”.

Adjourning final sentencing to September 10, Judge Fahy made it a condition of the accused’s bail that he not engage with social media until the case is over.

Onanuga, with an address at 16 Rivercrest, Dublin Road, Tuam, pleaded guilty to using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with the intention of causing breach of the peace or being reckless as to whether a breach of the peace may be occasioned, contrary to Section 6 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act.

Sergeant Aoife Curley said the incident occurred at around 12.30pm on September 9, 2022, in the Eyre Square Centre.

Onanuga approached his former teacher, took off his mask and said: “Do you remember me? You were mean to me in school”.

Onanuga took out his phone and started recording the teacher. The court heard the teacher, who was with his family, asked Onanuga to stop and he refused.

Sgt Curley said: “He [Onanuga] told him he was going to knock him out and the video was posted on a social media platform.”

Oganuga also pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a kitchen knife at Eyre Square on October 15, 2022, Contrary to Section 9 of the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act

Sgt Curley said that after coming to Garda attention, the accused and another male attempted attempted to evade Gardai.

Both men were searched under the Misuse of Drugs Act and a knife was found concealed in the crotch area of the accused. Onanuga told Gardai he had the weapon for his own protection.

Defence solicitor, Brian Gilmartin, said his client was present in court with two key workers from the Brothers of Charity. His client had been diagnosed with a mild intellectual disability and ADHD.

The court heard Onanuga received a suspended sentence last November from Galway Circuit Court.

Mr Gilmartin said his client has progressed well since then, is engaging with the probation services and complying with all conditions set down by the court.

Judge Mary Fahy said: “What about the teacher who was out with his family minding his own business when he had had to put up with this abuse and then it was posted on social media?”

Addressing Onanuga, Judge Fahy said the victim and his family are entitled to their privacy.

“It’s bad enough – this abuse – but putting it up on social media. Does it make you feel like a big man?”

Judge Fahy said she was not going to finalise the case until the views of the victim had been canvassed by Gardai.

She remanded him on continuing bail and ordered him to stay away from social media until the case is finalised.

“You do not engage in any way with social media until this sentencing is finished,” she said.

She also directed an updated report from the Probation Services and granted the State liberty to re-enter the case should any issues arise.

“I expect the State to re-enter this matter if there is an issue,” she added.

Judge Fahy said the court noted the accused is subject to a suspended sentence and no promise was being made “in any shape or form” as to how the court would deal with the current offences.

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