A Kerry man who threatened to chop off the heads of two gardaí with slash hooks has been jailed for two years.
30-year-old Edward O’Brien of Bruach na hAbhainn, Tralee, pleaded guilty to two counts that he made threats to kill or cause serious harm to two gardaí in August 2020.
Mr O’Brien, who has 54 previous convictions, was on bail at the time of the offending, and is currently serving a sentence for a separate matter.
A co-accused of Mr O’Brien, from the events of 1st August 2020, has pleaded not guilty to nine counts facing him, and the co-accused will stand trial at a later date.
Outlining the facts of the case for Judge Sinead Behan, Sgt James Hurley said two gardaí responded to a report of violence at a house in Castleisland, occupied by Mr O’Brien’s father, on the night in question.
When gardaí arrived, Sgt Hurley says Edward O’Brien came to the back door bare-chested, and both accused were intoxicated.
Mr O’Brien produced weapons, namely a wooden plank and metal pole, and ran at gardaí with the weapons, chasing them down the street.
Sgt Hurley said Mr O’Brien told the two gardaí he was going to chop off their heads with a slash hook.
The two gardaí were forced to flee and seek assistance for their own safety, and gardaí from Tralee and the mid-Kerry areas made their way to the scene.
Sergeant Hurley said gardaí again approached the house, and again were chased away, before back up arrived and the two men were restrained.
The court heard Mr O’Brien has never been in employment, has no training, and left education after first year of secondary school.
Defence counsel for the defence, Richard Liston, told Judge Behan Mr O’Brien personally apologised to one of the gardaí, and wants to apologise to the other.
Mr Liston outlined the issues his client deals with related to drug and alcohol abuse, mental health, and limited cognitive function.
He also told the court that Mr O’Brien’s wife is experiencing challenges caring on her own for their three children.
Judge Behan agreed that Mr O’Brien’s wife has challenges, but added Mr O’Brien himself is one of them, and she doesn’t see how he could be any help to her as he was.
Judge Behan said these gardaí were called to assist a man in his 60s, and society can’t function without an effective garda presence.
She said intoxication was not an excuse, but noted his guilty plea, remorse, and cognitive issues.
She handed him a three-year sentence, with the final year suspended on condition he engage with various services and remains sober for two years on release.