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Courts

McVerry Trust offers addiction counselling to man who stabbed mother's partner

The judge said today that he would take time to consider a 17-page psychiatric report handed into the court regarding Jonathan Reid.

THE PETER MCVERRY Trust has offered addiction counselling to a man who stabbed his mother’s partner in the neck during a drug-induced psychosis, the Central Criminal Court has heard.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott said today that he would take time to consider a 17-page psychiatric report handed into the court this morning regarding Jonathan Reid.

Reid (28) was originally charged with the attempted murder of Greg Shiels, his mother’s partner, at the family home at Newhall, Naas, Co Kildare on 6 March 2020.

When he pleaded guilty to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to Shiels and to possession of cocaine and cannabis, the Director of Public Prosecutions agreed to drop the attempted murder charge.

At a previous sentencing hearing, a letter written by Reid’s mother was referred to in court in which she asked for her son to be given a second chance and said Shiels fully supports him in his struggles with mental health.

The court heard that Reid has a history of mental health problems but when he attacked Shiels, he was in a drug-induced psychosis.

Today, Seamus Clarke SC, for Reid, said that the McVerry Trust has offered addiction counselling to Reid when he is released from prison and counsel suggested that the court could include a requirement to attend counselling when it passes sentence.

He said Reid has “done very well” in prison, has no paranoid beliefs and has no symptoms at the moment.

Mr Justice McDermott said he wants time to consider the report handed to him and pointed out that Reid’s psychosis was brought on by drug use rather than a mental disorder requiring clinical treatment. He said the report is extensive and “crystallises” a number of issues relating to Reid’s offending.

He added: “I’m going to adjourn because it is not appropriate that I rush into this.” He will pass sentence next Monday, 30 May.

At a previous hearing, Detective Garda Christine Brady told Paul Greene SC, prosecuting, that on 6 March 2020, Ms Reid rang Shiels for assistance at the Reid home and he arrived at 2.30pm.

Brady said that Reid was coming in and out of his bedroom and, according to Ms Reid, was “not making sense”.

Ms Reid went to buy her son cigarettes and when she returned, Shiels went to get food and brought it back to the house. Soon after Shiels’ return, Reid produced a knife and demanded the keys to the car.

Brady agreed with Greene that Shiels tried to calm the situation but was struck in the neck by Reid with the four-inch knife.

Greene said that Reid’s victim fell to the floor due to “quite a serious injury” before Reid took the car keys and drove off. Ms Reid contacted an ambulance and Shiels was taken to Naas General Hospital before being transferred to Tallaght Hospital for surgery.

Reid returned the next day with the car and was detained under the Mental Treatment Act for three days before his arrest.

The detective told Greene that she twice interviewed Reid, who blamed drugs and a lack of sleep for his psychosis. She said he had one previous conviction for drink-driving for which he received a fine and two-year ban.

Brady said Ms Reid had told her of a psychotic episode experienced by her son prior to the attack and that she had been “very concerned for his well-being”.

Brady agreed with Séamus Clarke SC, defending, that the victim had made a good recovery and did not suffer any swallowing or voice problems as a result of the attack.

Clarke said that his client had gone down a “rabbit hole” with his drug-use and found it hard to discern between what was real and not real when sleep-deprived. Counsel said Reid had spent time in and out of Lakeview Mental Health Unit at Naas General Hospital for a time before the stabbing.

Clarke said that Shiels had observed an episode of psychosis himself in Reid in the summer of 2019 but that there had never been a bad word between them.

Counsel said “very supportive” reports had been handed into the court and that one had been prepared by Professor Keith Rix, a consultant psychiatrist.

Clarke said that Rix reported that Reid had suffered with a drug-induced psychosis on the night and that he still could have been suffering with it when gardaí interviewed him.

“Although it was days later, Professor Rix took the view that he had not fully recovered [when interviewed],” said Clarke.

Greene said that the amounts of cannabis and cocaine Reid pleaded guilty to possessing on the night amounted to personal use and were not for sale or supply.