15 Aug 2022

Suspended jail for man caught in Tipperary more than 2km from home

Suspended jail for man caught in Tipperary more than 2km from home

Nenagh's court was told a man who was intoxicated on a bus in Nenagh was more than 2km from his home during lockdown

A bus passenger who was more than 2km away from his home at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic last year has been given a suspended sentence by Nenagh Court.

Jamie Lynch of 86 Kilcairn Court, Navan, County Meath, had pleaded guilty at an earlier court through his solicitor to being intoxicated in public and breaching Section 31a of the Health Act by being outside his 2km limit on April 27, 2020.

However, Judge Elizabeth MacGrath had said that she was not prepared to finalise the case as Mr Lynch was not present on the day and she said that he needed to be in court. She had adjourned the matter to July 9.

The earlier court had heard that the gardaí had to be called to deal with a passenger on a bus who was disruptive to other passengers.

He was subsequently found to be outside the 2km Covid-19 movement limit that was in place at the time, and was also intoxicated.

The offences were detected after the driver of the bus made a complaint that Mr Lynch was being disruptive to other passengers.

A garda got on the bus in Nenagh and observed Mr Lynch falling off his chair and on to other passengers.

When questioned about his movements in relation to the 2km Covid restrictions in force, Mr Lynch was unable to say why he had breached the restrictions.He had mentioned that he was on his way to Limerick to see his new born baby.

When the case was resumed last Friday, Mr Lynch’s solicitor, Conor Delaney, said that his client had been in residential treatment on the initial court date.

He explained that Mr Lynch had travelled from Navan to Dublin that day to take a bus to Limerick, but he had taken benzodiazepine and had a “benzo fit”.

Mr Lynch was brought to hospital in Dublin but discharged himself when he felt better and attempted to continue his journey to Limerick.

“He got back on the bus but he didn’t know where he was or what he was doing. He wasn’t in control,” said Mr Delaney.

However, Mr Delaney said that his client wanted to get out of that cycle as he now had a one-year-old son in Limerick.

“I am asking you to give him a chance,” he said.

Mr Lynch told the court that he wished to apologise for his behaviour.

He said he had been using drugs since he was 14 years old but was now doing well

Judge MacGrath was told that there were seven or eight other passengers on the bus at the time.

She was further told that the penalties were up to a €4,000 fine and one month in prison.

The judge said that her concern was that there had been a risk to other people and that she was concerned about the fear he had given other people.

She said Mr Lynch had been on a public bus in breach of Covid-19 regulations and people would have been highly concerned about the risk he was putting them in.

Judge MacGrath noted that Mr Lynch had 14 previous convictions, but said he seemed to have turned things around.

She jailed Mr Lynch for one month, but suspended it for two years in Mr Lynch’s own bond of €200.

She fixed recognizance in Mr Lynch’s own bond of €250.

Judge MacGrath took the charge of being intoxicated in public into account.

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