Man refused to wear a mask and smashed protective perspex screen at Cork fast-food outlet 

Man refused to wear a mask and smashed protective perspex screen at Cork fast-food outlet 

The accused man had previous convictions, including 11 for being drunk and a danger but none for causing criminal damage.

A man at a fast-food outlet in Cork refused to wear a mask and when staff asked him to leave the premises he reacted by smashing the Perspex screen protecting staff from the coronavirus.

Joseph Coffey, who is aged around 40 and living at a guesthouse on Western Road, Cork, pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage at Donnelly’s fast-food outlet on Shandon Street in Cork.

Sergeant John Kelleher said the incident occurred on the night on February 12 at Donnelly’s, where the defendant arrived in an intoxicated condition and refused to leave when staff asked him to go.

Joseph Coffey was not wearing a face mask at the time of the incident.

While he did leave the premises eventually, he first smashed the Perspex screen costing €150 that had been in place on the counter to protect staff.

Coffey made matters easy for gardaí who arrived to investigate the crime – he left his phone and public services card behind him at the outlet.

He was arrested some distance away at Mount Carmel when he was found to be drunk and a source of danger.

The accused man had previous convictions, including 11 for being drunk and a danger but none for causing criminal damage.

Frank Buttimer, solicitor, said the accused did have previous offences but that his level of offending in recent years was non-existent.

The solicitor said Coffey had moved out of homelessness and had been in more permanent accommodation at Western Road for the past three months.

“He was off alcohol before this but on the night this was some kind a break-out,” Mr Buttimer said.

Judge Olann Kelleher said he would not jail the defendant because of the steps he was taking to rehabilitate. He fined him €200 on the drunkenness charge and imposed a four-month suspended sentence for causing the criminal damage.

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