Teen jailed for spitting at Garda during arrest

A teenager has been given a four-month prison sentence for spitting at a Garda “like an animal”.

John Hynes, with a former address in Ros Aitinn, Upper Clybaun Road, Knocknacarra, who has since moved to Tralee, initially appeared in custody before Galway District Court.

He pleaded guilty at the time to assaulting Garda Shane Quinn, by spitting at him on July 25 last. He also admitted to being intoxicated and to breaching the peace on the same occasion by engaging in threatening, abusive and insulting words or behaviour.

The court heard Garda Quinn encountered the accused in a very intoxicated state and directed him to go home. Hynes refused.  He became very abusive and aggressive when Gardai Quinn went to arrest him and he spat at the Garda.

The court heard the Director of Public Prosecutions had directed that Hynes be charged with assaulting Garda Quinn.

The court also heard Hynes had been given the benefit of the Probation Act last June having pleaded guilty at the time to a charge of carrying a weapon.

Defence solicitor, Sean Acton, concurred with Judge Mary Fahy that Hynes’ behaviour towards Garda Quinn was reprehensible.  He said Hynes was homeless at the time and did not remember the incident due to intoxication.

Judge Fahy said that what Hynes did was disgusting, particularly to a Garda on duty, and she said she would be sending out the wrong message if she did not impose a custodial sentence.

Noting Garda Quinn was not in court, the judge adjourned sentence for one week to ascertain the Garda’s attitude towards Hynes now.

A victim impact statement from Garda Quinn was handed into court this week.

Reading the statement, Judge Fahy said the incident was not as straightforward as she had first thought, because not alone did Hynes spit at the Garda, but he then refused to give any samples for analysis which meant Garda Quinn had to go to hospital for tests and wait for the results.

“The Garda says in his statement that he felt totally degraded.  He was transporting this man back to the Garda Station when he spat at him like an animal,” Judge Fahy said.

She said that in view of Garda Quinn’s statement she would have to impose a custodial sentence.

She then sentenced Hynes to four months in prison for assaulting Garda Quinn and imposed a concurrent one-month sentence for breaching the peace. A €100 fine was imposed for being drunk on the occasion.

Leave to appeal was granted.