Tipperary man who spat on Garda and stole cash and phone sentenced to 10 months in prison

A man who stole a mobile phone from a house in Nenagh and cash from cars parked on a housing estate has been sentenced to a total of 10 months in prison by Nenagh District Court.

Sgt. Regina McCarthy told the court how a man who lived on the Coill Fuinseoige estate discovered the front door of his home was open at 1:40 a.m. on March 25, 2021 and his cell phone was missing from the table in the hallway.

Gardaí then confronted the accused, Christian O”Brien, 21, with an address of 115 Carrig Rua, Nenagh, who was cycling on a main road.

He was drunk and slithered back and forth in the street.

A cell phone that was with him was found to be the man’s property in the home.

In another incident, on March 24, 2021, Mr O’Brien stole coins totaling around €10 from two cars parked in front of other houses on the same property.

On February 23, 2022, he attempted to enter three vehicles in the Nenagh area and stole a pair of sunglasses from one of the cars.

On the same day he was arrested under the Drugs Act in Mitchel Street, Nenagh and held at the local Garda station.

He was subsequently released but was arrested again the same day in Banba Square and taken back to the police station.

During his detention, he insulted Gardaí on the station and grabbed a member of the force by the throat and attempted to punch another officer and spat at another.

On May 4, 2022, he was confronted in Carrig Rua in an intoxicated state by Gardaí.

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He was arrested for being intoxicated in a public place and engaging in threatening and abusive behavior.

He had to be treated with pepper spray when Gardaí tried to get him into a squad car.

During his subsequent detention at Garda station, he spat at officers.

His spitting at the train station resulted in a €150 bill for cleaning costs.

Sgt McCarthy said Mr O’Brien had a total of 69 prior convictions and a suspended sentence from another offence.

Defending counsel Elizabeth McKeever said Mr O’Brien had been in custody since the summer and celebrated his 21st birthday in prison last month.

He was a young man well known to the court.

He had been placed in care as a youth and had a difficult upbringing.

After being released from foster care, he fell between two chairs, being homeless for quite a while and struggling with addictions. He broke into cars to get small amounts of money.

Ms McKeever said Mr O’Brien is a very bright and intelligent young man who is now studying in prison and hopes to graduate although the subjects offered in prison are limited.

He pleaded guilty to his crimes at the first opportunity, but knows he faces more time in prison, said Ms McKeever, who begged the judge’s leniency given her client’s young age.

Judge Elizabeth MacGrath said she had no choice but to impose a custodial sentence given the number of offenses presented to the court.

She sentenced Mr O’Brien to a total of 10 months and expressed the hope that he would benefit educationally during his time in prison.

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