Defendant tried to escape court when judge remanded him in custody

Garda suffered suspected broken jaw during attempt to restrain 40-year-old at Cork court

A judge had to be escorted from the bench and a garda suffered a suspected broken jaw when a defendant tried to escape from court after she refused him bail in Co Cork this morning.

James McCarney (40) had been remanded to appear in Macroom District Court on a dangerous driving charge after he drove off from a garda and customs checkpoint in Ballinhassig on Tuesday.

Gardaí had sought to have Mr McCarney remanded in custody when he appeared in Clonakilty District Court on Tuesday afternoon as they wanted time to check out his address in Scotland.

When Mr McCarney's case was called at Macroom District Court today, Sgt Brian Harte said that gardaí needed more time to check out Mr McCarney's address at Branzeit, Balmore in Glasgow.


Judge Mary Dorgan said in those circumstances, she would remand him in continuing custody to Bandon District Court on Friday whereupon Mr McCarney jumped up from the custody area.

One eye witness told The Irish Times: "He clearly took umbrage at her decision to remand in him custody and he just jumped up from the custody area and tried to make for the door.

“Now he cleared the railing like Superman but he was still a good distance away from door so the judge was never in any danger but he didn’t get very far because about six guards jumped on him.

“Now they didn’t come down too heavy on him but in the course of the melee, he kicked out and one of the guards, Willie O’Sullivan got a kick in the face and looked to be in some distress.”

According to a garda source, gardaí heard a loud crack when Mr McCarney kicked out and Garda O’Sullivan was taken to Cork University Hospital for treatment for a suspected broken jaw.

According to one solicitor, Judge Dorgan handled the whole incident in a very professional manner, exiting from the bench until the matter had been sorted out and Mr McCarney safely restrained.

“She wasn’t at all ruffled by the whole business - she just left the bench and came back about five minutes later to deal with some other matters so she was very calm and professional about it all.”

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times