A man who set fire to a train carriage was sentenced to six months in prison at Carrick-on-Shannon District Court.
Jaroslaw Jendrzejewski, 4 Seashells Apartments, Bundoran, Co Donegal pleaded guilty to criminal damage to a railway carriage and to deliberately or wantonly exposing passengers to danger contrary to the Railway Safety Act at Boyle Train Station on December 12, 2019.
He also pleaded guilty to being intoxicated in public and to engaging in threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour on the same date.
The court heard that at 8pm on the above date Garda Trevor Shortt went to Boyle Train Station after a report of a fire on board a train.
People who were on the train were evacuated onto the platform and the defendant was engaging in a threatening and abusive manner to someone else on the platform.
The defendant was highly intoxicated and was arrested.
Garda Shortt spoke to the train driver and was told that some magazines had been set alight on the floor of one of the carriages. The fire had been put out with a fire extinguisher.
Iarnród Éireann said there had been damage worth €6,595.42 caused.
The defendant said he had been drinking wine and could not remember it but took responsibility and expressed remorse for what happened.
The court heard Mr Jendrzejewski had previous convictions for public order offences from Ballaghaderreen and Sligo District Courts in 2018 and 2020.
Solicitor, Martin Burke, said Mr Jendrzejewski is a Polish national who has lived in Ireland for the past 15 years. He worked here for the first ten years but the work then ceased.
He said the defendant is a separated man who suffers with serious alcohol issues and is still struggling with it.
He asked that Mr Jendrzejewski be given a chance to seek help and said his client was fearful about going to jail.
In relation to the cost of the damage, Mr Burke said the total included loss of earnings from Irish Rail and a bill for replacing the entire centre aisle carpet in the carriage and he didn’t think the calculation of loss was very fair on Mr Jendrzejewski.
Mr Burke said his client acknowledged that it was a very serious incident but he wanted to try and address his alcohol problem.
Judge Denis McLoughlin said if the defendant was serious about addressing his alcohol problem he would have come into court with a certificate from a residential agency showing that he had done a course to address his alcohol addiction, in spite of this happening 18 months previously.
Judge McLoughlin said the circumstances of the incident to light a fire on a train with other passengers on board was extremely negligent and serious.
He said the sentence would reflect the seriousness of the offence and noted that this was a serious offence.
Judge McLoughlin went on to say that if he had heard the evidence before the plea was offered he would have refused jurisdiction.
He convicted and sentenced the defendant to six months on both charges relating to the Railway Safety Act and took into consideration the two public order charges.
Judge McLoughlin stated that the offence was so serious he was satisfied he had arrived at the right order.
Recognisances were fixed in the event of an appeal.
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