A Sligo woman has been jailed for 28 days for coughing in the face of a garda.
Rachel Conway appeared before Judge Kevin Kilrane at a special sitting of Carrick-on-Shannon District Court yesterday after she coughed directly into the face of an officer on patrol in Sligo at 3.15pm on Tuesday afternoon.
Ms Conway, a mother-of-three from Rusheen Ard, Caltragh, Sligo, faced two counts, one of section 2 assault of Community Garda Martha Carter and one relating to her refusal to give her name and address.
The court heard how Garda Carter was on bike patrol when a report came in that a group of people were drinking at the new footbridge at Riverside in Sligo town.
Garda Carter found three females and one male drinking in the area.
She said Rachel Conway was “disruptive from the start”.
When the garda asked for names and addresses, all in the group but Ms Conway provided details.
The court heard that the rest of the group agreed to leave but the defendant approached Garda Carter and coughed directly in her face twice.
Rachel Conway was arrested and brought to Ballymote Garda station where she later gave her name, address and apologised to Garda Carter.
In court yesterday, Leitrim Division Supt Kevin English said he would be “seeking the protection of the court in relation to the protection of front-line gardaí”.
The judge noted that coughing in the face of a garda was “nasty” in normal times. But “in the present context” he said he would “deal with it severely”.
He pointed out the garda was only doing her duty and enforcing Government recommendations about social distancing.
The judge said “a message must be sent out that” that gardaí and the public must be protected and that alcohol was not a mitigating but an aggravating factor “given the current advice of the authorities.”
He convicted and sentenced Ms Conway to 28 days in prison.