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  • Northside West

Today in court

Wednesday, 12th February, 2020 3:28pm
Today in court
Today in court

By Sonya McLean

A man who “hurled” an ignited petrol bomb in the direction of a Garda who was standing by a vehicle waiting for it to be towed has been jailed for four years.

Gerard Dunne (32) had been spotted by Garda Karl Kelly acting suspiciously cycling around on a pink and white bike before he threw the lighted petrol bomb across a road in his direction. It collided with a kerb and smashed, emitting a flame.
 
Detective Sergeant Eoin Colbert told Antonia Boyle BL, prosecuting, that Gda Kelly had spotted the item as it came across the road and managed to run out of the way. He said had the Garda been facing the opposite direction, he would have been injured.

Dunne told gardaí, following his arrest and having been shown CCTV footage of the incident: “I don't think I would throw a petrol bomb at a copper, I don't think I would be that stupid.”

He denied any intention to throw the petrol bomb at the Garda but accepted later that it could have been him when he was informed that gardaí had nominated him as a suspect after they viewed the footage.

Dunne, of Coultry Drive, Ballymun, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to endangerment and possession of a petrol bomb on the Link Road, Darndale, on April 29, 2019.

His 97 previous convictions include endangerment, assault causing harm, attempted robbery, drug dealing, possession of knives and road traffic offences.

A victim impact statement from Gda Kelly stated that he was shocked as to how easily the incident happened.

“I have thought about it on many occasions and how lucky I was to see it in my peripheral vision, otherwise I would have ended up with life-changing injuries.”
 
He said his views had changed towards his job and dealings with members of the public and the incident had made him “more wary”.

Karl Monahan BL, defending, told Judge Melanie Greally that Dunne said he was in “a drug fueled haze” at the time and claimed he was aiming the device at the vehicle beside Gda Kelly rather than the Garda himself.
He said his client's “recollection was largely prompted by the CCTV footage”.

Mr Monahan said Dunne “very much regrets his behaviour” but added that he had used his time on remand in custody to deal with his drug addiction. He said Dunne's heroin addiction had previously led to psychotic behaviour.

Judge Greally said it appeared from the CCTV footage, which was played for the court, that Dunne had been “lying in wait” before he “hurled” the petrol bomb.

“It shows him in broad daylight, engaged in an exercise of scoping and waiting and timing his move when he threw a petrol bomb towards Garda Kelly who was a lone member of an Garda Siochana carrying out his duties,” Judge Greally said. “It was by sheer good fortune that his peripheral vision enabled him to see the petrol bomb that was hurled towards him.”

She described it as “a very serious incident of endangerment” and said Gda Kelly had no expectation of being placed in danger and that the incident “could have had serious consequences” for him. Judge Greally acknowledged that Dunne claimed his heroin addiction had led to psychotic behaviour and that he did not specifically recall the incident.

She sentenced Dunne to four and half years in prison and suspended the final six months of that sentence for 12 months on strict conditions.

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