A former Israeli soldier threatened to kill the proprietor of an off-licence and burn down his premises and now he has been given an 18-month suspended jail term.
The accused man, Ronen Tollman, took exception to the fact that a complaint was made against him for stealing a bottle of wine and he returned to the premises several weeks later and made the threats.
The suspended jail sentence also covered the offence of intimidating a security man at the English Market in Cork city.
34-year-old Ronen Tollman was described as having mental health issues which were exacerbated by the first period of Covid lockdown last year.
The intimidation of the member of staff at the English Market occurred on five separate dates in April last year. The other offence pre-dated the pandemic lockdowns, occurring in July 2019.
Defence barrister Brian Leahy said the accused, who had no fixed address in Cork city at the time, had since moved to Macroom where he was availing of mental health services through the HSE.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin asked Mr Leahy how long it was anticipated that Tollman would have to avail of such services and he replied that he would probably have to do so for life. Mr Leahy said the defendant’s counsellor reported that Tollman was actively participating in his counselling programme.
“He is a very nice gentleman when not having issues. He has a number of issues which he is handling,” Mr Leahy BL said.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said, “It is difficult to understand the accused’s behaviour but his mental health difficulties were lit up at the time. He suffered a lot apparently during the lockdown.
The judge suspended the 18-month sentence on condition that he would continue to engage with the HSE services and remain away from the injured parties’ premises for the next two years.
Ronen Tollman was charged by Garda Derry O’Brien with trying to impede a prosecution by threatening Gary O’Donovan at O’Donovan’s off-licence on Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork, on Tuesday, May 5, and previously stealing a bottle of wine.
Garda O’Brien said that Tollman sought out the proprietor of the off-licence and made serious threats to him about the complaint made about stealing the bottle of wine.
Tollman, who previously served with the Israeli army and played rugby for Israel, said to Mr O’Donovan as he was opening his premises that morning on Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork, “You are the prick who has me in court.
He also made threats that extended to others.
Tollman testified when the matter first came to court that he was frustrated that he was barred from the premises for stealing a bottle of wine when he had returned the following day to pay for it.
The defendant said he had Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and was bi-polar following his time serving in the Israeli army and had experienced manic and psychotic attacks.
“I have a little grudge, I shouted a slur at him because I took a €10 bottle of wine which I paid for the next day and I was barred. I apologise to him and his staff. I am sorry I intimidated him. It was not my intention,” he said previously.