Man who attacked off-duty garda after he honked horn at him avoids jail

A man who attacked an off-duty garda after he honked his horn at the man and his horse has received a fully suspended sentence.

Derek Heavey (32) of Moeran Road, Walkinstown, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm and criminal damage at Ballyfermot Road, Ballyfermot, on May 23, 2018.

Judge Martin Nolan sentenced Heavey to two years imprisonment, but suspended the entirety of the sentence on condition he keep the peace and be of good behaviour for two years.

Detective Sergeant Dara Kelly told Elva Duffy BL, prosecuting, that on the date in question Garda Stephen Monaghan was driving home when he noticed the accused heading towards him in a horse drawn sulky cart on the wrong side of the road.

Gda Monaghan sounded his horn as he believed the accused was a danger to other road users. Heavey got out of the sulky and approached Gda Monaghan, who took out his phone to record the accused.

Heavey slapped Gda Monaghan through the open driver side window, connecting with his right temple and breaking his sunglasses. He also knocked the phone from the guard’s hand.

The accused then kicked and broke the wing mirror of the car before punching Gda Monaghan in the face. Gda Monaghan suffered a chipped tooth as a result of this punch.

Gda Monaghan then got out of his car and Heavey began to square up to him. Another garda happened to see the incident and called out to Heavey, who then “raced” away in his sulky.

Heavey has 48 previous convictions. The vast majority of these convictions are for minor road traffic offences and he has only one conviction in the previous 10 years.

Dt Sgt Kelly agreed with Andrew King BL, defending, that the accused lost his temper. Heavey told gardaí he had felt that he and his horse had been put at risk and that he did not know the man who honked the horn was a guard.

Judge Nolan described the incident as “a gross act of petulance”.

He ordered that Heavey hand over the €1,000 in compensation which he brought to court and that he raise a further €1,000 in compensation in the next 12 months.

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