Gardaí smashed car window to pepper spray driver, court hears

Cork man jailed for two years and banned from driving for 10 years for endangerment

Tony Delaney (25) of Spring Lane Halting Site in Ballyvolane in Cork, was jailed for two years for endangering two gardaí by ramming their car. File Photograph: PA

Tony Delaney (25) of Spring Lane Halting Site in Ballyvolane in Cork, was jailed for two years for endangering two gardaí by ramming their car. File Photograph: PA

 

Gardaí had to smash a car window with a hammer and pepper spray the driver after he drove at their car in Cork, a court has heard.

Tony Delaney (25) of Spring Lane Halting Site in Ballyvolane in Cork, was jailed for two years by Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin at Cork Circuit Criminal Court after he pleaded guilty to endangerment at Castlelands, Buttevant on July 20th, 2019

The charge alleged that Delaney recklessly engaged in conduct while attempting to evade capture by gardaí by using his car to try to push their patrol car out on the road into the flow of passing traffic.

Det Garda Aidan Long told the court gardaí received a call at about 8.15am on the day in question that a suspected drunk driver was driving south in a Lexus towards Charleville from the Limerick direction.

Garda Brian Callanan and Garda Conor O’Halloran responded to the call and were driving northwards on the N20 when they met a Lexus coming against them at Ballyhea village.

They turned around and followed the car, with the siren and blue flashing lights turned on.

Delaney continued to drive at high speed, crossing over continuous white lines to overtake cars between Ballyhea and Buttevant.

He drove through Buttevant town at high speed and he eventually stopped at Castlelands, south of the town, some 13km from where gardaí first encountered him.

A back seat passenger got out of the car and ran off but gardaí pulled up and penned in the car. Delaney then tried to ram the Garda car and push it out of his way and on to the roadway.

Garda O’Halloran got out of the patrol car and used an emergency hammer to break the window of the Lexus and b efore deploying pepper-spray on the driver.

Delaney tried to run from the scene was subdued and arrested, the court heard.

Det Garda Long said that Delaney had 61 previous convictions, including for drunken driving and driving without insurance and he had been disqualified several times from driving for periods of four years and eight years.

He was disqualified from driving at the time of the offence, having been given an eight year disqualification in 2015 and another eight year disqualification in 2018, said Det Garda Long.

Defence barrister Paula McCarthy BL put it to Det Garda Long that her client had been co-operative and Det Garda Long said that while he refused to give gardaí his name at the scene, he was co-operative at the Garda station.

Ms McCarthy said her client was struggling with an addiction to drugs and alcohol at the time but was deeply remorseful over his behaviour and had written a letter of apology to the court.

She said the defendant’s wife and wider family were supportive of him and wanted to assist him in undertaking rehabilitation on his release from prison and she appealed to Judge Sean Ó Donnabhái to be as lenient as possible.

Judge Ó Donnabháin said he had not received the letter of apology but he was not interested in receiving one from a man who consistently ignored repeated court orders disqualifying him from driving.

He said Delaney had an appalling record and he would be far more interested in him adhering to orders disqualifying him from driving rather than writing worthless letters of apology from prison.

He said that Delaney had no respect for road traffic legislation as he he sentenced him to two years in jail for the endangerment and imposed a further disqualification from driving for a period of 10 years

“I have no doubt this man should not be back on the back on the road, he should not be allowed to drive a car until there is a considerable change in his attitude to society,” he said.