Student spared jail sentence after cutting clamp off car

Judge recommends man make complaint to gardaí against council following re-clamp

Dublin District Court heard that a Garda patrol spotted the man ‘cutting a clamp from a vehicle’. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Dublin District Court heard that a Garda patrol spotted the man ‘cutting a clamp from a vehicle’. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

 

A “creative individual” who cut a clamp off the wheel of his car with a hacksaw after he attended a photography course in Dublin’s Croke Park has been spared a jail sentence.

Student Gabriel McCallion (25) from Ballynease, Bellaghy, Derry pleaded guilty on Wednesday to causing criminal damage to a clamp belonging to Dublin City Council just after 5pm on Tuesday at Jones’s Road near the stadium.

He was given the benefit of the Probation Act after paying €200 towards the damage but was also given some advice from Judge Anthony Halpin who recommended he should now make a complaint to gardaí against Dublin City Council because his car was re-clamped following his arrest.

Dublin District Court heard that a Garda patrol spotted him “cutting a clamp from a vehicle”. He gave gardaí his name and was taken to the local Garda station where he was charged and held overnight.

He had no previous convictions, the court heard.

Defence solicitor Tony Collier said he understood that about €380 worth of damage had been caused but he did not know if the clamp had been completely destroyed. He said his client was not given bail at the Garda station because he had no ID on him.

He had been attending a photography course in Croke Park.

Mr Collier described the 25-year-old as a “creative individual” who is a music student.

He had €40 on him at the time and used half of his money to buy a hacksaw to saw off the clamp.

The court heard it would have cost €80 to be removed by the clampers.

Mr Collier said Mr McCallion had not planned on spending the night in Dublin but that is what happened as he was kept in Mountjoy Garda station in the city pending his court appearance on Wednesday.

He was also re-clamped and still has to pay the €80, the court heard.

However, the judge said while the original clamp had been unlawfully removed he did not think that the council had the power under the legislation to re-clamp the man’s car.

“I think he can go in to the Garda station and say Dublin City Council have done this illegally and make a criminal complaint to gardaí, there is a grace period.”

He then added: “There is no provision to allow Dublin City Council to re-clamp it. I would go in to the Garda station and make a complaint”.

Mr McCallion’s brother and sister came to the hearing and the judge noted the accused could now pay €200 for the damage.

After the money was paid over the judge applied the Probation Act leaving him with a clean record and he was released.