Woman accused of spraying garda with ‘unknown chemical substance’

Case of Frances Harrison (31) hears officer left ‘temporarily blind’ after being attacked while investigating suspected car theft

STOCK: The Courts of Criminal Justice on Parkgate St. Dublin
Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times
The Criminal Courts of Justice Exterior view

A woman has appeared in court accused of spraying an unknown chemical substance to “temporarily blind” a member of An Garda Síochána who was injured while arresting a suspected car thief in Dublin.

Frances Harrison (31), with an address at College Hill, Terenure, was charged with assaulting the officer at Basin Street flats in Dublin 8 during the incident on Thursday. She is also accused of the connected offence of being a passenger in a stolen rental GoCar on the same date.

The accused was refused bail when she appeared before Judge John Campbell at Dublin District Court on Saturday.

Garda Sgt Hugh O’Carroll alleged that the incident happened at 9.45pm after GoCar notified gardaí that a tracking device had been removed from one of its cars.


Two gardaí observed the car at Basin Street flats being “driven at speed with no lights”. The tracking device was on the side of the road.

Sgt O’Carroll said the accused was identified at the scene by the officers and from mobile phone footage circulated on social media. He alleged she had been a passenger in the car before it stopped.

He said two officers were trying to arrest the driver when the accused allegedly “sprayed an unknown chemical substance”. The court heard one garda was “temporarily blind” after it was sprayed into his eyes.

Both gardaí were injured, have attended hospital and remain off duty, the judge was told.

A number of locals “came out to intimidate gardaí” during the incident and the driver managed to make his escape.

Defence counsel Kevin McCrave pointed out that it was a rented car and his client could not have known it was stolen or that the tracking device had been removed.

Sgt O’Carroll accepted that Ms Harrison had not rented the vehicle and did not drive the car.

Mr McCrave asked the judge to note that Ms Harrison maintains her innocence. He submitted that refusing bail could see the accused kept in custody for a lengthy period, given that a trial might not be heard until 2025 or 2026.

Judge Campbell refused bail, however, and remanded Ms Harrison in custody to appear in court again next Wednesday.