16 Aug 2022

Spat on Garda’s trouser leg during covid pandemic

Assault on garda

Spat on Garda’s trouser leg during covid pandemic

Thurles District Court

A young man who spat at a garda during the covid lockdown, was given a three-month suspended jail sentence at Thurles District Court.

Sgt Thomas Hanrahan told Judge Elizabeth MacGrath that Garda Mark Cullinane responded to a call concerning a disturbance in Mitchel Street, Thurles, on September 27, 2020.

Jamie Ferncombe, of 6A Ballycurrane, Thurles, was one of those who had been throwing fireworks at passing traffic. Mr Ferncombe became aggressive and abusive to the garda, said Sgt Hanrahan. Garda Cullinane carried out a search under the Misuse of Drugs Act, but this returned ‘negative’.

Garda Cullinane directed Mr Ferncombe to leave the area.
During the course of an arrest, Mr Ferncombe “spat at Garda Cullinane a number of times” and spit lodged on the Garda’s trouser leg.

Sgt Andrew Lyons later charged Mr Ferncombe with assaulting Garda Cullinane. Mr Ferncombe has no previous convictions.

Solicitor Patrick Kennedy said Mr Ferncombe had a “troubled life” and was in the care of the probation services at the moment.

Mr Ferncombe was “making progress”. This incident “occurred during the height of his troubles,” said Mr Kennedy. “He does recognise the significance of the matter, He comes from a very good background.”

Judge MacGrath said she was taking a “certain view” of spitting at a member of An Garda Síochána during the height of the covid pandemic.

Garda Cullinane had to go “above and beyond” what a garda has to endure in terms of what happened that day, said Judge MacGrath. “I find this to be totally and utterly unacceptable.”

Judge MacGrath sentenced Mr Ferncombe to three months imprisonment, suspended for one year on condition that Mr Ferncombe enter into a Sec. 99 bond of €250. “If he commits an offence during that one-year period, that sentence will be activated,” warned the Judge.

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