A man who broke a garda’s finger after biting the officer during a courtroom struggle has been told by the President of the Court of Appeal he must “put his best foot forward” to avoid jail.
Brandon Power (22) of St Joseph’s Road, Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow, was being sentenced on another matter when he lashed out and sank his teeth into Garda Trevor Devereux at Wicklow Circuit Court on March 31st, 2018.
Power later pleaded guilty to assaulting Garda Devereux and was given a one-year sentence, which was suspended for 12 months on April 11th, 2019.
However, the Director Public Prosecutions (DPP) appealed the sentence imposed by Judge Terence O’Sullivan, saying it was too lenient.
The Court of Appeal later agreed with the DPP and on March 15th called for background reports to help them decide an appropriate sentence.
Best foot forward
Court President Mr Justice George Birmingham, along with Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly, were due to assess the reports on Tuesday.
The case, however, was adjourned until December after the court was told an up-to-date probation report for Power was not available.
After being informed it would take six to eight weeks to prepare a probation report, Mr Justice Birmingham adjourned sentencing to December 13th.
Addressing Power, the Court president said: “This is a very serious matter and there are no promises given. You must put your best foot forward.”
Earlier, Justin McQuade BL, for Power, told the hearing his client had been engaging with the probation services since the last adjournment and has attended all his scheduled meetings.
At the March hearing, Mr Justice Birmingham said an attack on a garda in a courthouse was an act of the “utmost seriousness” and warned Power to expect a prison sentence even if he engaged positively with probation.
Power was also told he was “at risk of a significantly more severe penalty” if he does not cooperate and that he had “a significant task to persuade the court that there was any basis for leniency”.
James Kelly BL for the Director of Public Prosecutions said Power “has not really engaged in a meaningful manner with the recommendations of the court”.
During Power's sentence hearing, Garda Devereux said he feared his attacker had bitten his finger off, and he had never felt pain like it.
The garda also told the court he heard his own finger snap during the attack.