A DISQUALIFIED driver who rammed a patrol car four times in an attempt to force the vehicle out of his way so he could escape gardaí has been sentenced to three years with the final 20 months suspended.
Michael Walsh (32) of Cherry Orchard Crescent, Ballyfermot, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to endangerment, dangerous driving and having no insurance on December 18, 2014.
His 19 previous convictions are mainly for road traffic offences and include a 10-year disqualification order handed down in August 2012.
Sergeant Richard Williams told Pieter Le Vert BL, prosecuting, that Garda Ciaran Garry had been in pursuit of Walsh after he spotted him driving erratically in the Ballyfermot area at 6am. Walsh refused to stop when indicated to do so and continued to drive dangerously until gardaí followed him to his home.
Walsh drove down the cul-de-sac where he lived, performed a handbrake turn and drove directly at the Garda patrol car that was blocking him in, crashing into the vehicle head on. He then reversed and rammed the car three more times in an effort to push it out of the way.
Gda Garry got out of his car, smashed the passenger window on Walsh’s vehicle with a baton and ordered him to get out.
When Walsh refused, Gda Garry feared he would reverse the vehicle into him. The Garda then smashed the driver’s window, took the keys out of the ignition and wrestled Walsh out of the car. He then pinned the man to the ground, handcuffed him and brought him to the local station.
Walsh was ordered to present valid tax, insurance and NCT certificates but never did so.
Sgt Williams said Walsh was extremely intoxicated at the time and agreed with Keith Spencer BL, defending, that it had been his client’s mother’s anniversary that day. The court heard she died when Walsh was 10-years-old.
Walsh’s six-week-old baby had recently died from a bacterial infection and he had been suffering from depression at the time.
A victim impact report from Gda Garry, who never took sick leave following the incident, indicated that he had neck pain and stiffness in his back, having got the full impact of the initial crash. He found himself being more cautious and apprehensive in work since.
Judge Martin Nolan sentenced Walsh to three years in prison but suspended the final 20 months, taking into account his plea of guilty and expression of remorse.
He said Walsh’s behaviour on the night was very serious and he had been “heedless” as to the extensive injuries he could have caused Gda Garry.
Judge Nolan said it was a “severely aggravating factor” that Walsh was driving while disqualified and that he had shown a certain level of contempt for the road traffic code.