A WOMAN was left in a terrified state on Patrick Street in Cork when a 32-year-old man sneezed into her face and laughed at her.
That was the allegation made at Cork District Court by Garda Lorna Healy in a case against Damien O’Gorman of 114 Lus Na Meala, Banduff, Cork.
The allegation arose of an incident that occurred shortly before 7 p.m. on Cork’s main street on Wednesday, April 1.
Garda Healy said gardaí were opposed to bail being granted to the accused because of the deliberate sneezing at a member of the public in what are particularly trying times.
Garda Healy testified that at 6.50 p.m. on Wednesday, the defendant Damien O’Gorman was arrested on Patrick Street, Cork.
Garda Healy who was on duty in Cork city centre at the time said that moments earlier she witnessed an incident involving the accused on Patrick Street.
“He was behaving in a very threatening manner. I observed him deliberately walking in front of a female and sneezed deliberately into her face and laughed at her. There was a terrified response from the woman who walked quickly away,” Garda Healy said.
Defence solicitor, Frank Buttimer, said the defendant would be pleading not guilty to offence.
Mr Buttimer said the defendant was charged with two public order offences, namely being intoxicated to such an extent as to be a danger to himself or others and engaging in threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour likely to lead to a breach of the peace.
The defence solicitor asked if the accused was charged with assault. Garda Healy said that she witnessed the incident but that the woman did not wish to make a complaint.
“The woman was unwilling to engage or to answer questions about the assault,” Garda Healy said.
Mr Buttimer also said of O’Gorman, “He has educational challenges. They go back to his very earliest age as a teenager.” The solicitor called the accused to give evidence in his bail application. He asked the defendant where he had gone to school. O’Gorman said he had gone to Scoil Bernadette in the Cope Foundation.
The defendant agreed with Mr Buttimer that he would be pleading not guilty to the public order charges.
Sergeant John Kelleher cross-examined the 32-year-old about his failure to appear in court on a charge related to a counterfeit note he allegedly produced at the Golden Vale Bar in Kilmallock, County Limerick. O’Gorman said he knew nothing about that.
Judge Olann Kelleher refused bail. He remanded O’Gorman in custody until April 8 at Cork District Court in relation to the two public order charges on the disputed sneezing incident. He remanded him in custody until April 6 to Limerick District Court on the bench warrant in relation to the Kilmallock charge.
Free legal aid was granted for Mr Buttimer to represent the defendant.
In the course of the bail application Mr Buttimer objected to hearsay evidence of a garda who was not present in court witnessing the alleged sneezing. Garda Lorna Healy, who was present, said she witnessed it herself.