A Westport man who admitted public order charges and assaulting a garda has been sentenced to three months imprisonment at the local court. Michael Heraty from Carrowholly, Westport, pleaded guilty to public order charges outside the home of his wife, from whom he was
separated at the time, on May 20 last.
He also admitted public order charges at Mill Street in the town on July 7 and to assaulting Garda Seamus Kelly. A second charge of assault, on Garda Siobhan McGowan, was contested by him and dismissed by Judge Mary Devins.
Garda McGowan gave evidence of receiving a report of a man outside the Mill Times Hotel on July 7 who was intoxicated in a car with his two children. He wouldn't let his wife into the car.
Witness saw the defendant standing at the passenger side window, talking to a little boy. She asked him to step away and his wife got into the car.
Heraty got very agitated and asked her to speak to his wife about giving the child Coke to drink. He told the garda she would never catch him driving and she explained she wasn't there for a traffic matter; it was because he wouldn't let his wife into the car.
The defendant shouted abusive language. Two other gardaí arrived and they tried to settle him.
As witness put her hand on his shoulder to arrest him, Heraty punched her into the chest and she stumbled back. He then headbutted Garda Seamus Kelly. There was a struggle and the three fell. Heraty was then pepper sprayed.
Garda Kelly said she had bruising to her chest. She also has a bad shoulder injury and is still off work. She agreed the shoulder injury was as a result of the fall.
In his evidence, Garda Seamus Kelly said Heraty lunged towards him, catching him over his right eye with his head. There was a struggle and they had each other in a headlock.
Michael Heraty, 33, asked if he punched Garda McGowan, told the judge he was positive that didn't happen. At no time did he headbutt Garda Kelly. He reached up, put his arm around his head, they were lunging forward and they all fell.
He admitted drinking from 11 a.m. He was also taking anti-depressants.
His wife rang for the car and went to the hotel for the keys. She put the children in the car and he sat in too as he decided he wanted to go.
However, they had a row as he was drunk and she rang the guards. When they arrived he was talking to his son, telling him to get back into the back of the car.
After hearing the evidence, Judge Devins said at no stage did Garda Kelly give evidence that he saw Heraty punch his female colleague in the chest. She had a doubt and dismissed the charge.
In respect of the May 20 case, Inspector Joe McKenna outlined how gardaí were called to the Paddock at 9.35 p.m. where Heraty was causing problems outside his ex-wife's house. He was in her car, extremely intoxicated, and told the guards to f*** off and leave him alone. On the trip back to the station and in the station he continued to be abusive.
Mr. Aidan Crowley, solicitor, defending, told the judge the couple are back living together. Heraty, he said, had a successful painting and decorating business, with 30 plus employees at the height of the boom. With the crash, he found himself with no business and difficulties arose and he started drinking and was on medication also.
Describing the evidence as 'unedifying', Judge Devins said she felt so sorry for the two little boys.
She fined Heraty a total of €1,000 and sentenced him to three months in prison. Recognisance was fixed in the event of an appeal.