Spitting at a female member of An Garda Síochána and then refusing to say if he had any Covid-19 symptoms resulted in a man being jailed for five months today.
Sergeant Gearóid Davis said that a plexiglass screen at Gurranabraher garda station protected the officer but that she was upset by the incident.
Sgt. Davis said the garda asked Eddie Keenan, who had been arrested and taken to the station, to turn towards her.
When he did so he spat directly at her but there was plexiglass between them which protected her.
“Asked if he had Covid-19 symptoms he refused to answer,” Sgt. Davis said.
The accused pleaded guilty to assaulting and obstructing the garda and other charges arising out of the incident on which he was initially arrested.
35-year-old Eddie Keenan of 22 St John’s Square, Blackpool, Cork, had five previous assault convictions, two for assaulting gardaí, one for assault causing harm and 17 for engaging in threatening behaviour.
Shane Collins-Daly defence solicitor said Keenan had been out of trouble for two years and could not understand why he was being arrested on the night of April 16, partly because of his level of intoxication.
“He says that under no circumstances did he intend to spit at the guard but it may have happened inadvertently when he was shouting at the guard. He did not mean it. He wished to apologise to the garda. He behaved badly on the night. He felt somewhat aggrieved the guards found it necessary to speak with him at all. He is now more placid and lucid and a lot more calm in his demeanour."
Noting previous convictions against the accused, Judge Olann Kelleher remarked, “He does not seem to have learned his lesson.”
Sergeant Damien McNamara testified during an earlier bail application that it was the position of the prosecution that the accused spat intentionally.
Sgt. McNamara charged Keenan with assault and obstruction, at Gurranabraher garda station. Keenan was also charged with engaging in threatening behaviour and being drunk and a danger at O’Reilly’s garage on Watercourse Road, all in the early hours of April 16.
Sgt. McNamara said the accused man caused a disturbance at the garage and pulled pumps from their holders on diesel and petrol appliances in the garage forecourt.
Keenan’s replies after caution were as follows: “I don’t give a f***”; “Go away, will you”; “F*** off”; “F*** off”; and “F*** you”. One of the five charges was withdrawn.
Judge Kelleher referred to these replies when he refused to grant bail to Keenan and last month.
Keenan said he did not know what he was saying at the time of the replies after caution.
“This morning they opened the cell door. I didn’t know where I was or where I was going. I didn’t know if I was in Mayfield or Gurrán (Gurranabraher). I might have said something like leave me alone or go away or something,” Keenan explained.
The five-month jail sentence imposed on Keenan was backdated to April 16 when he went into custody.