Man abusive towards gardaí loses appeal against sentence

Judge Helen Boyle rejected the appeal of the sentence of six months imposed on the accused at Cork District Court but noted that the accused had effectively served the sentence by time remanded in custody.
Man abusive towards gardaí loses appeal against sentence

Two members of An Garda Síochána were repeatedly threatened by a man who was “acting in a strange manner” that he would bite them during an altercation at the Mary Elmes Bridge by Merchants Quay in Cork. Pic; Larry Cummins

Two members of An Garda Síochána were repeatedly threatened by a man who was “acting in a strange manner” that he would bite them during an altercation at the Mary Elmes Bridge by Merchants Quay in Cork.

Joel Lonia of no fixed address denied resisting arrest or refusing to give his name and he said he was not in possession of weapons and that the two pairs of scissors in his possession were still in the packaging in which he bought them earlier that day in Tesco. He also denied threatening the gardaí.

Judge Helen Boyle rejected the appeal of the sentence of six months imposed on the accused at Cork District Court but noted that the accused had effectively served the sentence by time remanded in custody.

Garda Shane Hayes testified at Cork Circuit Appeals Court that it was reported to gardaí on July 12 last that there was a man on the Mary Elmes Bridge acting in a strange manner.

Garda Hayes said the accused appeared to be very agitated, pacing back and forth and when asked he would not give his name and address. Garda Hayes said the accused said to him: “F*** off, get away from me.”

Garda Hayes said: 

“He was very evasive when I spoke to him. When informed he was going to be searched he attempted to walk away. I stopped him. A physical altercation ensued.”

He said that during this altercation he, his colleague Garda Karen Barber, and the defendant fell to the ground.

Both gardaí testified that as they held the accused on the ground he threatened up to 10 times that he was going to bite them.

Joel Lonia who is from the Democratic Republic of Congo testified: “I was on the bridge just across from the bus station having a drink, doing my own thing in the public place. They came. They take me on the ground. I told them to stay away from me. I did not use any bad language.

“I gave them my name. They know my name. They can never deny that.”

He denied ever threatening to bite them. He claimed that he was unable to breathe because of the way he was being held by gardaí on the occasion.

The appellant’s barrister, John Devlin, said the accused was granted bail at the High Court but was unable to take it up and had spent the time in custody.

He said the 33-year-old has been in Ireland since 2009.

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