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'Jekyll and Hyde character' who assaulted garda gets a suspended sentence

The man’s barrister told the court: “When he is sober, he is fine. When he is drunk, he is a nightmare.”

File photo: the Criminal Courts of Justice on Parkgate Street, Dublin.
File photo: the Criminal Courts of Justice on Parkgate Street, Dublin.
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

A MAN DESCRIBED in court as a “Jekyll and Hyde character” has received a fully suspended sentence for assaulting a garda and making threats to kill.

Joseph Hussey (41) of Holywell Drive, Swords, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Garda Gemma Twohig on 13 October 2018 and a threat to kill or cause serious harm to a woman renting a room in his home on 19 January 2019. He has three previous convictions.

Oisin Clarke BL, defending, described his client as a “Jekyll and Hyde character” who became an extreme nuisance to the emergency services, “calling them willy-nilly because he wanted attention”.

He said his client clearly had an alcohol problem and handed in letters of apology to the court.

“When he is sober, he is fine. When he is drunk, he is a nightmare,” Clarke said.

“He is not a man who knows the IRA or who has access to firearms. He is just clearly irrational when he is drunk,” counsel said referring to an incident when Hussey threatened the woman in January this year.

Garda Laura Mahon agreed with Clarke that she had many interactions with Hussey and when he was sober he was “fine to deal with”.

She accepted that there had been daily calls to the station around the time of these offences but he has not contacted the station since February.

Garda Mahon accepted a suggestion from counsel that Hussey “seemed to consider the gardaí his friends” and used to call “for a chat”. He dropped biscuits and chocolates to the station at Christmas.

She agreed that one of his previous convictions relates to assaulting her while she was trying to restrain him during the incident in January.

Judge Martin Nolan had remanded Hussey in prison overnight having heard the evidence earlier in the week.

Today, Judge Nolan told Hussey he thought “you should be ashamed of yourself” for abusing the friendship of two gardaí who had treated him well and becoming a menace to them.

Referencing an offence of animal cruelty which was taken into consideration, Judge Nolan said: “It is a particularly bad thing to take out your frustrations on a dumb animal.”

He sentenced Hussey to 18 months imprisonment, but suspended the entirety of the sentence provided he keep the peace and be of good behaviour for a period of 18 months.

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