A man who threatened to kill gardai and also admitted assaulting a man with an intellectual disability was sentenced to ten months in prison at Kilkenny Circuit Court.
Kristian Friel, 55 Cloughabrody Heights admitted the assault at the riverbank in Thomastown on March 8. The injured party sustained injuries to his head and face. The injured party told gardai that he had been socialising and Friel kept pushing him to ‘come on and have a drink’. The defendant ‘got angry’ and assaulting the man causing a head injury and a laceration to his cheek.
Since the assault the injured party is ‘afraid and worried’ and ‘lives in fear’
Friel, who has 43 previous convictions, lives at home with his mother. He is unemployed amd is a drug user who takes heroin, cannabis and sometimes prescription meds.
Garda Edel Maher referred to the defendant and said that ‘when he is not drinking he is the finest fella’.
Barrister Kevin Byrne said that his client apologised to the injured party. He added that his client comes from a dysfunctional family home and has psychiatric problems.
Detective Sergeant Matt Filan also gave evidence in relation to an incident at Market Street, Thomastown on May 21. At approximately 1.30am the defendant made a 999 call and spoke to gardai at Kilkenny Garda Station. He identified himself and said that he was at the riverbank in Thomastown and said he had weapons. Initially he asked for an ambulance and gardai but then said that he would not need an ambulance but that the gardai would when he was finished with them.
Gardai went to the riverbank and searched the area and unsuccessfully attempted to ring Friel on his mobile phone. They went to his home but there was no answer.
At 2.40am gardai received a 999 call from Mr Friel who said that he was on Market Street and that he had a knife on him and was planning to attack people. Gardai immediately went to the location and observed Friel on the path outside the takeaway.
“He was clearly intoxicated and was roaring and shouting and brandishing the knife,” the detective sergeant said.
The first garda to arrive at the scene stayed in the patrol car because he knew of Friel’s ‘violent tendencies and feared for his own safety and waited for assistance’.
“He threatened the garda and said ‘don’t come any closer or I will gut you’ and mimicked the action across his own stomach.”
When assistance arrived the five gardai formed a cordon around Friel and attempted to calm him down. He held the knife to his own neck and also threatened gardai and pointed the knife at two members and said ‘I am going to deal with you first’.
The defendant was in a doorway and gardai used a petrol pump as a shield while trying to get Friel to drop the knife. Pepper spray was used and after he was sprayed the defendant ‘stepped towards members and swung the knife wildly’. A baton was used on his legs and he was subdued and arrested. The detective sergeant agreed with his colleague that ‘when sober he (Friel) is a fine man to deal with’.
The court heard that the defendant was on bail at the time of the offence and has been in custody since June.
Mr Byrne said that on the night in question his client had gone to the riverbank and was ‘feeling suicidal’ and ‘appeared to be out of his mind’.
“He apologises unreservedly for his outrageous behaviour. It is clear from the medical report that he is a vulnerable young man who has serious addiction and psychiatric issues and who comes from a difficult and dysfunctional family background,” added Mr Byrne.
Judge Cormac Quinn imposed two five month sentences and ordered that they run consecutively and backdated the sentences to September 1.