herald

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Garda-row man 'was trying to stop suicide'

COUNSELLOR: That's why I was in park late at night

A DRUG counsellor arrested for refusing to leave a city park after a late-night disturbance claimed he was there to stop a teenager killing himself.

Richard Gabett (36) said he was doing a "good deed" by helping a suicidal youth when gardai arrived on the scene.

But investigating officers said the only other person in the Ballyfermot park while they dealt with Gabett was a woman and that he would not leave despite several requests.

Gabett, of O'Hogan Road, Ballyfermot, was given a two-month suspended sentence at Dublin District Court after he was found guilty of failing to obey garda directions.

Garda Darragh Hughes told the court he was called to Markievicz Park on June 25 and came across several people there after the gates had been locked. The youths were causing a disturbance so the gardai opened the gates and drove in.

Garda Hughes said the park was "renowned for public order incidents" and he had to ensure it was locked and unoccupied.



RAILING

On seeing the car, the youths fled. As the gardai were closing the gate to leave, Gabett arrived and stood in front of them, preventing them from closing the gate. He was asked to desist several times under the Public Order Act and failed to do so. He was arrested.

Cross-examined by defence solicitor Caroline Egan, Garda Hughes denied telling Gabett he could "f**k off" and "leave the way he came in -- over the railing". Neither the garda not a second officer recalled a youth being at the scene with Gabett.

In evidence, the defendant said he had gone to the park after a woman he knew asked him to help her 16-year-old brother-in-law, who was suicidal.

"I didn't run because I had no reason to run, I was looking for the youth," he said.

Judge Dermot Dempsey said he fully accepted the garda's evidence.

The defendant had nine previous convictions but none in Ireland since 1997. He had more recently been convicted of battery in the UK.

Judge Dempsey suspended the sentence for a year.

aphelan@herald.ie

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