A sentencing judge said the violent reaction of an intoxicated young man, who repeatedly tried to attack gardaí, “just shows to everyone here the havoc cocaine is causing in the city”.
Garda Clare Sheehan and Garda David Ahern were on duty at The Willows, Classis Lake, Cork, before 8pm on April 8, 2020, during the Covid-19 restrictions, and they approached a black Ford Fiesta that was parked. As they came close to the car, a young man got out of the back of it and ran through a gap in a hedge.
Garda Sheehan said, at Cork District Court, that this 26-year-old man was Luke Coughlan, of Main St, Coachford, County Cork.
“He had no excuse for running away. He was searched for drugs. While conducting the search, we found a disposable coffee cup in the car. It contained clear plastic bags with white powder. Luke Coughlan was standing nearest me. In my left hand, I had the coffee cup. In my right hand, I had one of the plastic bags. He grabbed a bag from my right hand and attempted to run away. He tried to strike Garda Ahern and strike me with his fist.
“He was asked to desist. He continued to struggle violently. Garda Ahern and I restrained him and put him to the ground. He was continuously trying to head-butt us. Garda Ahern was leaning on his legs to stop him getting up, to no avail. A female in the car pleaded with Luke Coughlan to calm down.”
The two gardaí had to call for assistance from other Garda units.
“He became very remorseful and co-operative. It was obvious whatever intoxicant he was under the influence of had worn off at that stage,” Garda Sheehan said.
Luke Coughlan admitted having cocaine for his own use at the time. It was valued at €100. He said, “I am really sorry. I am sorry to you. It is not acceptable.”
Judge Olann Kelleher said, “I have heard all the evidence and I convict.” He convicted Luke Coughlan — in the absence of the accused, who failed to appear for his case — on charges of possessing cocaine for his own use and obstructing gardaí. He issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Coughlan, so that he could be brought to Cork District Court for sentencing.