Man convicted over airport rampage


A MAN who threatened to kill a garda and went on a rampage at Cork Airport in a stolen airport-police vehicle has been remanded in custody for sentence after a jury yesterday found him guilty of 12 offences.

Edmond Stapleton (38), of Kilbarry Cottages in Dublin Hill, Cork city, but currently of no fixed abode, denied all 12 charges arising out of a series of events in Cork city centre and Cork Airport on May 22nd last year.

Stapleton denied assault causing harm to Garda Michael Bohane, threatening to kill Garda Bohane, two counts of unlawfully taking Garda and airport-police vehicles, five counts of criminal damage and three counts of dangerous driving.

Defence lawyers had not disputed the bulk of the evidence but had argued Stapleton was insane at the time due to a manic and psychotic episode caused by bipolar affective disorder.

The prosecution argued Stapleton’s actions were due to the fact he was intoxicated, having taken cannabis in the days leading up to May 22nd, and that he was sane at the time he went on the rampage.

Yesterday the jury of nine men and three women at Cork Circuit Criminal Court took 4½ hours to unanimously find Stapleton guilty of all 12 counts. Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin remanded him in custody for sentencing next Wednesday.

Earlier Judge Ó Donnabháin outlined to the jury their options, pointing out they could find Stapleton guilty, not guilty or not guilty by reason of insanity.

Under the Criminal Law Insanity Act (2005), a person can be found not guilty by reason of insanity if they are found to suffer from a mental disorder, defined as mental illness, mental disability or dementia – but not intoxication – at the time of the offence.

Consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Paul O’Connell, for the defence, had told the court he believed Stapleton was insane at the time of his actions as he neither knew that his actions were wrong nor could he refrain from engaging in them.

However, consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Damian Mohan, in giving rebuttal evidence for the prosecution, strongly disagreed and said he believed Stapleton both knew what he was doing was wrong and was able to refrain from doing it.

Dr Mohan said Stapleton’s long history of drug use from the age of 18, including chronic usage of cocaine but more particularly his use of cannabis in the days right up to the events, precipitated his behaviour on that day.

Cross-examined by defence counsel Patrick McGrath, Dr Mohan accepted he was in a minority regarding his conclusions on Stapleton, as four other psychiatrists who either examined or treated him had concluded he was suffering from psychosis.