A man smashed glass partitions, a cash register and Heineken beer taps while staying as a guest in a Portlaoise hotel.
So Portlaoise District Court was told recently when he pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal damage and to possessing a knife at the Midlands Park Hotel on 28 May.
Garda Sergeant JJ Kirby said that, at 4.20am that morning, gardaí received a report about a man who was acting in a very threatening manner and was a danger to himself and to others. When gardaí arrived, they found the defendant outside the hotel with a butter knife. The sergeant said that the damage caused amounted to €4,500 and that the defendant had no previous convictions. Judge Michèle Finan asked the defendant’s solicitor, Catriona Carmody, whether she had viewed CCTV footage of the incident and what she had deduced from it.
The solicitor replied: “It looked like a man who was scared and distressed. At one time, he put chairs and tables around himself. Another time, he can be seen putting his hands on his head and saying, please don’t shoot me.”
Ms Carmody said that her client had a letter of apology for the hotel and had brought €1,500 with him as a donation for the local Saint Vincent de Paul.
Sgt. Kirby also said that he had been given a bank draft of €4,500 from the defendant to give to the hotel.
Judge Finan told the man: “Things happen but you have dealt with this in an extremely good way. You have paid back all the money for the damage you caused.”
Sgt Kirby said gardaí believed the incident was a one-off situation.
Judge Finan struck out all the charges against the defendant and instructed that the €1,500 be given to a local charity and that the bank draft be given to the hotel.
*Names of defendants in Portlaoise District Court cases are printed in the Laois Nationalist newspaper that is available in your local shop or in our online edition here.