Sentence too lenient for man threatening to ‘gut’ garda
A FIVE-MONTH sentence imposed on a man who threatened to ‘gut’ a garda was too lenient, the Court of Appeal has ruled.
Kristian Friel, 21, was on bail when he called gardaí and said he was feeling suicidal. When a garda called to help him, he threatened to kill the garda with a knife, telling him: ‘I’m not dying alone tonight.’
The DPP had sought a review of his sentence, claiming it was unduly soft. The Court of Appeal will now consider what longer term of imprisonment Friel should serve.
Giving the background to the case, Judge John Edwards said in the early hours of May 31, 2016, Detective Garda Matthew Donnellan was called by Friel to Market Street in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny.
The judge said Friel had been feeling suicidal at the time he made the call. When he arrived at the scene, Garda Donnellan found Friel outside a restaurant, shouting and drinking cider while brandishing a knife.
‘When Garda Donnellan approached he shouted, “Don’t come any further or I’ll gut you,” and made a gutting motion across his own stomach with the knife,’ Judge Edwards noted.
‘Garda Donnellan was also told, “I’ll get you before they get me and I’m not dying alone tonight,” forcing him to retreat back to the car.’
Four more gardaí arrived to help and used pepper spray on Friel, at which point he began swinging the knife wildly towards them. They eventually subdued him by striking him with a baton on the leg. ‘We will quash the sentence imposed by the court below,’ Judge Edwards said. Friel will be re-sentenced later.