‘Public menace’ with slash hook jailed for Kilkenny city assault

Kilkenny People reporter

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Kilkenny Courthouse

A Kilkenny man who brought a slash-hook to a row outside a chipper has been jailed.

Charges arose out of an incident outside a chipper on John Street, in the early hours of the morning on January 22, 2017.

The Circuit Court heard how William Harty, whose address was given as Apt 4, Maudlin Street, Kilkenny, pleaded guilty to a charge of assault and a public order offence.


Garda Andrew Neill gave evidence of responding to a report of a disturbance, with colleagues, on January 22, 2017. At John Street the gardaí met four men, in two groups of two. William Harty spoke to Garda Neill and said he had been in an altercation with another man, the manager of the nearby chipper, and his son. Mr Harty was accompanied by his brother.
All four men were arrested and files subsequently sent to the DPP. No serious injuries were reported, Garda Neill said, although the scale of the disturbance did provoke alarm in witnesses.
The altercation occurred at 3.55am in a public place.


The garda said Mr Harty had a verbal altercation with the manager of the chipper, left but came back with his brother. The son of the chipper manager came out and this is when “the fisticuffs got more serious.”


Mr Harty was charged with assaulting the chipper manager and with using threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour.
In his victim impact statement the injured man said Mr Harty had verbally abused him at work, then later came back and attacked him with a slash-hook. His son was with him and he was scared for his safety. The man said he is still scared of Mr Harty and his acquaintances and would sometimes go another way to avoid them.
The court heard Mr Harty had 58 previous convictions.


Jane McCudden BL, defending, said her client had been intoxicated, which was not an excuse but was why his judgement was impaired. She said he identified himself to gardaí at the scene and had complied with strict bail conditions.
Ms McCudden said her client’s early upbringing was blighted by alcoholism in his home and he is similarly afflicted. Difficulties with drugs and alcohol are behind his offending behaviour. The bail conditions, in advance of the sentencing, had been a good influence on him and there has been a de-escalation in his offending.

He is 29 and a member of the Travelling Community, Ms McCudden said. She asked the court to take into account that four people were involved and at one stage all four were arrested.
Mr Harty has removed himself from the city since this incident and is living a quieter life, she said. He has a partner and four children.

“This particular gentleman is something of a public menace,” Judge Terence O’Sullivan said. He said Mr Harty was the cause of the trouble and came before the court with a “dramatic” number of previous convictions.


Judge O’Sullivan said the offences were at the higher end of the scale of seriousness. He also observed Mr Harty had a poor record of engaging with the Probation Service when given a chance in the past. He had a poor history of compliance and only showed up to meetings as the “sword of Damocles hung over his head.” Mr Harty had a lot of problems that were his own and not to be visited on other members of society.


On the charge of assault Judge O’Sullivan imposed five months imprisonment, with two months suspended. On the public order charge he imposed two months imprisonment, with one month suspended.
A destruction order was issued for the slash hook.