Sus­pended sen­tence for at­tack on fire bri­gade

The Sligo Champion - - NEWS -

A man who threw bot­tles at Sligo Fire Bri­gade as his car­a­van went up in flames has re­ceived a five month sus­pended prison sen­tence.

De­nis McGin­ley, of Con­naughton Road Car Park, only avoided go­ing to prison be­cause he brought ¤2,000 in com­pen­sa­tion to court last week.

He had pre­vi­ously pleaded guilty to as­sault­ing Fire Of­fi­cer Martin McCaf­frey and to en­gag­ing in threat­en­ing, abu­sive and in­sult­ing be­hav­iour on Septem­ber 1st 2016.

He had al­ready paid ¤1,200 for the dam­age he caused to two fire ten­ders and a crim­i­nal dam­age charge was struck out as a re­sult.

In­spec­tor Paul Kil­coyne told the court last week that firefighters came un­der “a bar­rage of mis­siles”, in­clud­ing a beer bot­tle thrown at a Fire En­gine.

It smashed a win­dow and shards of glass were sent fly­ing into the cabin, caus­ing Of­fi­cer McCaf­frey to be hos­pi­talised to get his eye washed out as a pre­cau­tion.

McGin­ley, rep­re­sented by Mr Pat O’Sul­li­van BL, ex­pressed his re­gret for what hap­pened.

Mr O’Sul­li­van de­scribed it as an “in­ci­dent of mad­ness”: “He does ac­cept he has a prob­lem when he con­sumes al­co­hol. It makes it a med­i­cal is­sue as well as a le­gal is­sue,” he ar­gued.

“Most peo­ple who get ‘plain drunk’ don’t throw bot­tles of beer at peo­ple,” he added.

How­ever Judge Kil­rane said that if he was us­ing a med­i­cal con­di­tion of al­co­holism as a de­fence, he had to prof­fer ev­i­dence of this.

Mr O’Sul­li­van had no med­i­cal ev­i­dence. Judge Kil­rane said he’d ac­cept that McGin­ley was “just drunk”.

Mr O’Sul­li­van said the de­fen­dant was very anx­ious about his car­a­van go­ing on fire and thought his wife and daugh­ter were in the car­a­van “which caused him to be­have in an un­for­giv­able man­ner.”

“He re­alises it was a point­less ex­er­cise. He has today handed in ¤2,000 to the driver of the ten­der and paid for the dam­age to the fire ten­der,” he told Judge Kil­rane.

He said McGin­ley had to pay for a new car­a­van, had eight young chil­dren and lived in im­pov­er­ished con­di­tions.

He said that af­ter all the money McGin­ley had to pay out, he cal­cu­lated each bot­tle of beer he drank that night cost him ¤400.

“He’d nearly drunk enough beer to put the fire out on his own,” said the judge.

“I was told the rea­son he at­tacked the Fire En­gine was that he thought they were late in com­ing,” he told Mr O’Sul­li­van.

He handed down a five month prison sen­tence on McGin­ley for the as­sault, sus­pended for two years, on con­di­tion he’s not con­victed of any in­dictable of­fence or as­sault of­fence or Pub­lic Or­der of­fence dur­ing this pe­riod.

“But for the fact that he had ¤2,000 I would im­pose a prison sen­tence,” he said.

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