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Sunday 10 December 2023 Dublin: 8°C James Heffernan was convicted today.
James Heffernan

Former senator found guilty of assaulting 3 gardaí

Heffernan appeared in court on charges brought following events relating to 31 July/ 1 August 2016.

A FORMER SENATOR has been found guilty of assaulting three gardaí after he was arrested outside the Indiependence Music Festival in Mitchelstown, Co Cork.

Fermoy District Court head that James Heffernan (39) of Ballinlyna, Kilfinane, Co Limerick told gardai that they were “sound as trouts” on 1 August, 2016 after he spent a night in custody following his arrest.

Heffernan appeared in court on charges brought following events relating to 31 July/ 1 August 2016.

Judge Brian Sheridan found Heffernan guilty of drink driving on the Limerick Road in Mitchelstown on 1 August 2016. He disqualified him from driving for a period of three years and fined him €500.

The former Labour Senator was also convicted of two common assault charges and one of assault causing harm to three members of the force after he was arrested on 31 July, 2016.

He was also convicted of two charges of careless driving at Coolnave, Mitchelstown on 1 August, 2016 and fined €400.

At a sitting of the court in December Heffernan had denied that he assaulted or spat at gardai following his arrest when he was allegedly ejected from the festival.

He maintained that any suggestion that he was “kung fu kicking a guard in the back” was completely false and that he was never abusive to gardaí.

Gardaí told the court that Heffernan was in an intoxicated state outside the venue and was seen kicking security barriers which fell on to the roadway.

Gardaí had to take him in to custody in Fermoy Garda Station for his own safety as he fell on barriers knocking them to the ground and was a “social danger.”

Detective Garda Gerry Murphy said as they attempted to put Heffernan in the garda van he kicked Sergeant Ger Quinn. He also spat at now retired Detective Garda Jim Fitzpatrick twice.

When they got to the station Heffernan was aggressive and uncooperative, the court heard

Garda Murphy said Heffernan refused to take off his shoes. When they were being taken off he kicked Garda Trevor Sheehan in to the mouth causing it to bleed, he said.

In his evidence at the previous hearing Heffernan said he was frustrated by the decision of gardaí to remove a Miraculous Medal from his neck whilst in custody.

However, he insisted that the mood in custody “was jovial and jocular” and they spoke about “garda pay and conditions”.

He said his alcohol consumption consisted of whiskey and a few cans. Garda evidence had been that he reportedly told them he was after “a whole heap of porter, whiskey and gin”.

At a hearing of the court today, Judge Sheridan directed that a probation report be prepared in the case.

He said that the evidence of the defendant was at variance to that of the gardaí and the security guard at the festival. The qualified primary school teacher will be sentenced on 15 March.

Comments have been disabled as the case is still before the courts

Olivia Kelleher