A driver who reversed into a garda patrol car, causing injuries to two gardaí, has been handed a prison sentence of 4½ years.
Paul Darcy (26) pleaded guilty to endangerment, dangerous driving and criminal damage on September 7th, 2018, at Stockhole Lane, Santry.
Darcy with addresses at St John’s Lane West, Thomas Street, Dublin and Calry Court, Stephen Street, Co Sligo also pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary on September 2nd, 2018, in various locations in the Glasnevin area.
He also pleaded guilty to the unauthorised taking of a car from a housing estate in Palmerstown on the night of October 11th, 2018, and making off without paying for fuel at Applegreen Service Station, Palmerstown on October 13th, 2018.
Garda Ross Briary gave evidence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that two of his colleagues were on patrol when they spotted a white Ford Mondeo vehicle with three occupants acting suspiciously. Darcy was later identified as the driver of this vehicle.
The patrol car followed the vehicle and indicated for it to stop. The vehicle began to speed up, and gardaí continued to follow. The vehicle travelled across an M50 overpass bridge at around 100km/h.
Gardaí continued to pursue the vehicle, which then turned and braked at full force. Gda Briary told Michael Hourigan BL, prosecuting, that gardaí believe this was an unsuccessful attempt to cause the patrol car to collide with the vehicle.
Gardaí then noticed the vehicle’s reversing lights were on and it later began to reverse at speed towards the patrol car. The vehicle smashed into the patrol car with force, causing the front airbags to deploy.
The gardaí attempted to call for assistance, but the patrol car’s electronics had been damaged. The two gardaí were injured and were trapped in the patrol car. They were treated in hospital and medical reports were submitted to the court.
Gardaí noticed movement in the back of the other vehicle, which had become embedded in the front of the patrol car.
When other garda units arrived, all three occupants were sitting in the back seat and initially attempted to evade arrest. The three made no admissions when interviewed and denied being the driver of the vehicle.
Over €5,000 worth of damage was caused to the patrol car. Victim impact statements were handed into the court but were not read out.
Darcy had been on bail in relation to three burglary charges at the time of this incident.
Keith Spencer BL, defending, said Darcy is a father of two young children and had left Dublin to live in Co Sligo. His client is from a large family and had been under the bad influence of a family member at the time of the offence.
Darcy also had undiagnosed mental health difficulties but is now receiving intensive treatment for psychosis. Mr Spencer said his client is also drug-free and has turned his life around
Mr Spencer said Darcy apologised to the victims of his crimes. His client had a skewed view of the gardaí at that time but has come to appreciate their role.
Mr Spencer asked Judge Nolan to consider an adjournment to allow Darcy to spend time with his mother, who is in extremely poor health. He also applied for an adjournment to allow Darcy to make a gesture of compensation for the damage caused to the patrol car.
Refusing both applications, Judge Nolan acknowledged the expressions of remorse and the positive steps Darcy has taken but said these were serious crimes.
He said Darcy had intentionally reversed a vehicle into an occupied car and this “reflects badly” on him.
He imposed a two-year sentence on the first burglary count, a four-year sentence in relation to the endangerment count to run consecutively, and 18 months for the unauthorised taking of the vehicle to run concurrently, with all other counts taken into consideration.
Judge Nolan imposed a six-year sentence in total with the final 18 months suspended on strict conditions, taking the mitigation into account. He also disqualified Darcy from driving for six years.
A list of previous convictions was handed to the court, but not read out.