A young man who bit a garda, threw a fan at another garda and threatened to have a bullet put in her head will be sentenced to 150 hours of community service, provided he is deemed suitable.
When Leon Travers (24) was arrested by gardaí for an alleged public order offence in October 2018, he engaged in “aggressive” and threatening behaviour in a Garda station and while being treated in hospital.
Travers, with an address in Whitestown Drive, Mulhuddart, Dublin, pleaded guilty to one count of threatening to kill a garda at James Connolly Memorial Hospital and one count of assaulting a garda at Blanchardstown Garda station on October 29th and October 30th, 2018. Other counts were also taken into consideration.
Detective Garda Alan Lynch told Elva Duffy BL, prosecuting, that after his arrest, Travers was aggressive and difficult with arresting gardaí who were taking him to hospital for a nose injury. While handcuffed in the hospital, Travers kicked over a trolley of instruments.
I'll get a few of the kids to put a bullet in your head.
Both gardaí present felt Travers was trying to loosen his handcuffs to get hold of scissors in the treatment room. He told one female garda he would stick it in her neck and told the other he had seen her around his local shops. “I'll get a few of the kids to put a bullet in your head,” he told her.
Travers then picked up a small fan from a table and threw it at the garda, striking her on the cheek. He was deemed to be too aggressive to be examined and was taken back to the Garda station.
The following morning, Travers again lashed out at gardaí who were taking him to court. When one garda put a hand on his shoulder to try and calm him down, Travers bit his hand, leaving a mark, the court heard. None of the gardaí made a victim impact statement.
Travers has no previous convictions.
Keith Spencer BL, defending, said his client needed treatment in hospital for a broken nose he sustained while being arrested. The gardaí were “very heavy-handed and injured him,” Mr Spencer said. Detective Garda Lynch was unable to confirm this.
Mr Spencer said his client offered an apology for his behaviour and regrets his actions. “Tensions were high,” he told the court.
He said his client does not work and is a full-time father to his three young children. He is a first time offender who has no addiction issues.
In relation to Travers' expression of remorse, Judge Martin Nolan noted: “Sometimes when you're saying sorry, you shouldn't try to blame other people”.
“I discern a pretty bad attitude,” the judge added.
He took into account a number of mitigating factors, including Travers' lack of previous convictions and the fact he appears to be an intelligent young man capable of rehabilitation.
He said he would impose 150 hours of community service in lieu of a six-month prison sentence and adjourned the matter to allow the Probation Service to confirm Travers is suitable for community service.
The case will return to court on February 7th, 2022.