999 caller threatened to shoot gardaí 

999 caller threatened to shoot gardaí 
Courthouse on Anglesea Street, Cork

THE Garda control room in Cork was contacted three times in one night by a 999 caller who threatened to shoot gardaí in the head for seizing his car and to petrol-bomb Gurranabraher station.

Sergeant Ann Marie Twomey said yesterday at Cork District Court that the caller said: “This is not an idle threat. It will happen.”

The caller was told that the 999 phone line was for reporting emergency calls only but he kept ringing back.

The caller was identified as 44-year-old James O’Sullivan of 11 Dunmore Gardens, Knocknaheeny, Cork.

Gardaí from Gurranabraher Garda Station were alerted and officers went to O’Sullivan’s home after midnight on the night of the calls on May 17, 2018.

They called at the house and O’Sullivan refused to answer the door but it was obvious to gardaí that he was present at the time.

He responded to them by shouting from the locked house, “Where’s your warrant?”

Sgt Twomey said gardaí spoke to him through the window of the house and at one stage they heard the defendant saying to another person in the house: “Get my hammer.”

Gardaí managed to arrest O’Sullivan through the window of his home that night. Sgt Twomey said O’Sullivan had 43 previous convictions. Eight of these were for being drunk and a danger, three for threatening behaviour, seven for criminal damage and one for assault.

Frank Buttimer, solicitor, said of Mr O’Sullivan: “He is not as much on the radar recently. The last of his convictions dates back to 2012.”

Mr Buttimer said he had spoken to a local sergeant who expressed the view that the May 2018 behaviour was not in keeping with the character of the defendant over the last several years.

The solicitor said there was a reason behind the defendant’s behaviour on the night in that his own car had been siezed by gardaí earlier in the evening and he reacted badly to this.

Compounding the problem, he had alcohol taken, Mr Buttimer said.

“He is engaging positively in community activity at the moment,” Mr Buttimer said as he asked the judge not to impose a custodial sentence.

The solicitor said it would have been obvious to gardaí in the control room that he was under the influence of alcohol when he was making the repeated 999 calls to them on the night.

Sgt Twomey accepted this point and said it was clear to gardaí that the defendant was intoxicated on the phone.

Judge Olann Kelleher said he accepted what the solicitor was saying about the accused but that a custodial sentence had to be imposed: “He has to take responsibility for his actions after he has drink taken. So does everyone else in the city.”

O’Sullivan was sentenced to four months in jail for wasting Garda time by persistently phoning 999. Recognisances were fixed in the event of an appeal at €500 independent surety and a cash lodgement of €500.

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