A prisoner threatened a prison officer in Cork Prison with the words, “With one phone call you will be done,” and today he was sentenced to an extra ten months in jail for making the threat.
Gavin Ryan, 30, with an address at Mount Suir apartments, Gracedieu, Waterford, pleaded guilty to charges of assaulting the chief prison officer Tom Curtis on January 28 at Cork Prison on Rathmore Road, and a second charge that he made a threat to the officer, intending him to believe it would be carried out, to kill him or cause him serious harm.
Judge Olann Kelleher, said at Cork District Court, “This is a very serious matter. The more serious charge is of threatening to kill the chief prison officer saying that with one phone call he would be gone.”
The judge imposed a five-month jail term on Ryan and a concurrent ten-month sentence on him for making the death threat to Mr Curtis.
Judge Kelleher said the court had to be cognisant of the seriousness of a prisoner threatening the life of a prison officer.
Sergeant John Kelleher said the prisoner was to be transferred to court for an appearance that morning. Gavin Ryan was told to wait at his cell and that the prisoner escort unit would contact him when it was time for the journey to court.
“This did not sit well with the defendant and he said, ‘With one phone call you will be done’. He pushed Chief Officer Curtis with both hands,” Sgt. Kelleher said.
The sergeant said the injured party had to remove his shirt as there was saliva from the defendant on it from the altercation.
However, Sgt. Kelleher said of the defendant, “He did not spit at him.”
The accused man had previous convictions for assault causing harm and making threats to kill as well as for an aggravated burglary.
Eddie Burke, solicitor, said, “He is a 30-year-old Kilkenny man. His mother died tragically last year. He had a very serious accident in 2018 and he suffered a bleed on the brain. He is out of trouble since 2014.”
Mr Burke said the accused was pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity and had already been punished in terms of loss of privileges in prison. This included having no television for two weeks, the solicitor said.
Referring to the loss of television access, Judge Kelleher said before imposing sentence that this would be the least of the penalties imposed on Gavin Ryan for what he described as a serious matter.