01 Dec 2021

Drunken man in Tullamore with bottle in his hand told gardai he had Covid-19

Drunken man in Tullamore told gardai he had Covid-19

Drunken man in Tullamore told gardai he had Covid-19

A DRUNKEN man holding a glass bottle told gardai not to touch him because he had Covid-19, Tullamore District Court heard.

Stephen Callinan, 29, Attigara, Portumna, pleaded guilty to public order offences at O'Moore Street, criminal damage at Heffernan's filling station and Tullamore Garda Station, drugs possession and breaching the Covid travel regulations.

Sergeant James O'Sullivan said that on May 2 last at 1.50am the accused was kicking rubbish bins at the filling station and when gardai arrived they saw him holding the bottle.

Sergeant O'Sullivan stated the man said: “Don't touch me, I have the coronavirus”.

Mr Callinan did not give a name and address and he was abusive to gardai. CCTV showed him shoving a bin and rubbish across the forecourt.

He became aggressive and accused gardai of “calling him a handicap” and he made particular remarks to one of the gardai.
Judge Catherine Staines heard the man was brought to the station and placed in a cell and when he was searched the gardai found a small amount of cannabis.

When he was checked later he was found to have defecated in a corner of the cell and he continued to be abusive to the gardai, asking them: “Who's the handicap now?” He caused €200 worth of damage to the cell.
Sergeant O'Sullivan said Mr Callinan had 37 previous convictions and had received a five-month suspended sentence on May 12 at Loughrea District Court for theft.

Prior to that he had been convicted of drugs possession in Tullamore in 2020 and a breach of the peace in 2019.

Patrick Martin, defending solicitor, said Mr Callinan apologised for his unacceptable behaviour which had occurred because he was intoxicated.

He had written a letter of apology to the court and Mr Martin explained the accused was homeless at the time and his partner was pregnant.

The solicitor said his client was now in employment and had brought compensation to the court for the damage he caused.
He was also currently engaging in a diversion service.

Judge Staines said the incident was a shocking one and she said she had a six-month prison sentence in mind.

However, she said she would read a letter he had written to the court which would explain her decision.

In the letter, the man said he was “in a very bad place at the time” of the offence, being “practically homeless” and had received “devastating news” that his girlfriend lost a baby.

He said he knew that did not excuse his behaviour but he was highly intoxicated after drinking brandy which did not agree with him.

He was not in a right state of mind that night and could not happen. He said he was very ashamed of what he had done and now, having stopped drinking, getting employment and with another child on the way, he had changed his ways and was seeking help from different counsellors.

Judge Staines said she was reluctant to send him to prison in such circumstances so she directed €200 to go to one of the gardai who were abused.

She adjourned finalisation of the matter to February 9 next for a probation report and to see if he was sincere in his efforts to remain alcohol free. “I'm not making any promises,” the judge remarked.

Melanie Hyland, 22, with addresses at Cuba Avenue, Banagher and Church View, Tullamore, admitted public drunkenness and attempting to get into a garda patrol car on the same night.

Sergeant O'Sullivan said Ms Hyland was Mr Callinan's girlfriend and when the gardai were arresting Mr Callinan she went over to the patrol car and opened its door as it was about to leave. She had no previous convictions.

Mr Martin told the court Ms Hyland was now pregnant and was not drinking. She had also written a letter to the court explaining her actions. Judge Staines fined the woman €100.

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