A man who drank seven whiskeys in 45 minutes, with gardaí later finding cocaine in his jacket, was sentenced to 90 days in prison.
Robert O’Donoghue of 2 Assumption Place in Clonakilty, County Cork had argued through his lawyer that the Bantry Maritime Hotel had violated licensing laws by serving him the whiskeys he owned. denied ownership of the jacket and that the hotel management, by preventing him from returning to his room at one point, had falsely imprisoned him.
O’Donoghue, who has 26 convictions, including a four-year sentence for an offense that included possession of a firearm, had pleaded not guilty to the charge of intoxication in a public place at the Maritime Hotel on October 17, and not guilty of possession of cocaine. The drugs were found by Gardaí in a jacket which he denied possessing during a search at Garda de Bantry station.
Alan Brooks, the hotel’s service manager, told Judge James McNulty that on the day in question he entered the bar and found a man “curled up on the couch”. During cross-examination by lawyer Desmond Hayes, he clarified that O’Donoghue may not be asleep, but he told the court his speech was scrambled and he appeared disoriented. He went to get the general manager.
When Mr. Books returned, O’Donoghue had left and was in the lobby, waiting for the elevator. Mr Brooks said O’Donoghue “got out of the door” and “bounced” off the door. “He was very drunk,” he told the court, describing how Mr. O’Donoghue walked up to his manager and put his hand on his shoulder twice, but not aggressively, and he had intervened to “defuse the situation” then called gardaí.
Gardaí arrived, at which point O’Donoghue was in a disabled toilet and, when he got out, Garda Albert Sweetnam stated that he had observed him reeling and hammering his words and made himself the opinion that he was intoxicated.
Garda Sweetnam said O’Donoghue initially provided no name or details, but then gave Shannonvale, Clonakilty an address and did not respond when arrested. Garda Sweetnam said procedures were followed and what turned out to be cocaine and a key card were found in a clear plastic bag in the jacket pocket.
Mr Brooks had told the court that he remembered O’Donoghue wearing a dark colored jacket, and during cross-examination Garda Sweetnam said that O’Donoghue took off the jacket and dropped it. and that he had picked it up and brought it to the Garda station as Mr. O’Donoghue was in his care.
CCTV footage was uploaded from the hotel and Mr Hayes said it showed a hotel bartender serving his customer coffee and seven whiskeys from 11:08 p.m. to 11:56 p.m. The court also heard that the timestamp of the images was one hour behind the actual time.
Mr Hayes said the whiskey service did not comply with licensing laws and his customer entered the elevator at one point but management prevented the doors from closing. Mr. Hayes argued that this was a false imprisonment and that the elevator was not a public place. He also said his client denied owning the jacket and did not take it when he was released.
Justice McNulty declined the defense submissions and no defense evidence was filed. Justice McNulty said the court was satisfied O’Donoghue had been intoxicated in a public place. “The court rejects the defense attorney’s suggestion that all of this was somehow the fault of the hotel, owner or licensee and the implied suggestion that their possible violation of licensing laws would give rise to a defense to the accused for his intoxication, “he said. noted.
The judge said the court was satisfied that Mr O’Donoghue had worn the coat and attempted to throw it on the way to the guard station and that it was lawfully searched at the station.
Mr Hayes said his client had not been drinking since the incident, was looking to move abroad for work, but that Covid-19 had complicated that, and although he was not receiving any assistance benefits social, its means were limited.
Judge McNulty convicted him of the intoxication charge and fined him € 500 with six months to pay, and found him guilty of possession of cocaine and sentenced him to 90 days of imprisonment.
The appeal commitment was set at Mr. O’Donoghue’s own deposit of € 500, all in cash, and a deposit to be approved of € 6,000, one third in cash. The surety was approved and his appeal was filed.