Did you read about this fella? inquired the elderly gentleman at the next table, offering me his newspaper.
What in the name of Jesus, I muttered as I scanned the story about a habitual thief who staged a one-man protest yesterday in Ennis Circuit Court.
24-year-old Eddie O’Sullivan stripped to his underpants and socks,for reasons best known to himself, but was still brought before Judge Carroll Moran, who took a dim view of the unclothed defendant. Get dressed you fucking toerag, said the Judge, or words to that effect. I’ll deal with you after lunch.
Just as the court was about to resume, there was an unmerciful commotion in the cells, with a lot of banging and screaming, before Eddie was eventually brought in, fully dressed this time.
What the fuck were you doing? demanded the judge, or words to that effect, to which the defendant explained,
I asked for a snack box for my lunch and the prison officers brought me back wedges and three chicken nuggets.
Perfectly reasonable, I thought. When you’e in court for stealing a disabled man’s wallet, it can be very annoying if you’re expecting a snack box and they bring you some poxy chicken nuggets with wedges. You wouldn’t know what they put into those things.
The judge wasn’t too impressed with Eddie’s history of 122 previous convictions but the young lad had a reasonable excuse. He didn’t threaten the disabled man — he just took the wallet from his pocket. And he never used violence in any of the other 122 offences, so there you have it. A fine, upstanding young fellow who just happened to get caught for 123 non-violent crimes.
Not surprisingly, the judge adjourned the case for a psychiatric report.
I handed the gentleman back his paper. Jesus, that’s bonkers.
‘Tis, he said. It reminds me of the time Mushy McCarthy was in court, back in the Fifties. Mushy’s solicitor asked the judge to take 79 other offences into account.
“Seventy-nine other offences?” the judge said. “Mr McCarthy, you’re a disgrace. Have you anything to say?”
Well, Mushy jumps up and he says, “I don’t recognise the court”.
“Do you not, indeed, Mr McCarthy?” says the judge. “Well, the bad news is that the court recognises you. Six months!”
I could see where my friend was going with this. Very similar case, I agreed.
Yeah, he said. Mushy didn’t recognise the court, and Eddie didn’t recognise his lunch.