Courts

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Garda left ‘traumatised’ after man drove his car at him

Greg Harkin

Published 12/02/2014|11:06

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A GARDA whose colleague was killed after being rammed by joyriders has spoken of how he was left traumatised when a man drove his car at him in the third such incident within days.

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Gda Kevin Hynes told a court about the night Christoper Orr (22) reversed his car at him after a Garda chase in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, knocking him into a hedge.

A colleague at the same station in the town, Gda Robbie McCallion, was rammed and killed by a teen driver in March 2009.

Another colleague Gda Gary McLoughlin, based in Buncrana, was killed when his car was rammed in December the same year.

Letterkenny Circuit Court heard yesterday how Orr, from Trentamucklagh, St Johnston, Co Donegal, had driven his car at Gardai twice within days in 2012.

On July 27 that year Orr had spun his car around in a nightclub car park in the town before driving at Gda Stephen Moyles and narrowly avoiding members of the public.

Six days later – on August 2, 2012 - Orr was cornered by Gardai in a cul-de-sac in Fair Green Park at 1.30am.

Officers had spotted Orr driving a black Ford Mondeo into the street, Gda Sgt Aidan Doherty told the court.

The car stalled, Orr restarted it and as Gardai pulled their van in front of him, Orr drove smashed his car into the van.

Gda Hynes attempted to arrest Orr, but the accused reversed the Mondeo at the officer knocking him into a hedge.

Orr was later arrested and Gda Hynes was admitted to Letterkenny General Hospital to be treated for injuries to his shoulder, arm and hand. He had to take two weeks off work.

“I was ok after two weeks,” Gda Hynes told Judge Keenan Johnson.

“It was a very traumatic experience for me; words are hard to describe something like that.

“On the night itself it was raining but I couldn’t feel the rain I was so shaken.”

The next day Orr was spotted again in Listillion, Letterkenny, and this time he drove at Gda Moyles again before making his escape.

Orr admitted two counts of dangerous driving and one count of endangerment. He also admitted several other offences including having no insurance and driving without a license.

He had written a letter of apology to Gda Hynes.

However the officer said he had only received this when it was handed to him by a solicitor five days ago.

“Mr Orr has had ample opportunity to apologise to me,” said Gda Hynes.

Defence counsel Peter Nolan told the court that Orr had been using drink and drugs at the time and was keen to change his ways.

Judge Keenan Johnson said he wanted to commend Gda Hynes who was clearly “a dedicated officer.”

He said that while Orr had been making efforts in prison to mend his ways, he had to send a strong message that those who drove cars in this way were in control of “lethal weapons.”

He jailed Orr for three and a half years, with last 18 months suspended on condition he enter into a bond to keep the peace for 7 years on his release.

The sentence is to run from this August when Orr completes other sentences for previous offences.

He also banned Orr from driving for 20 years.

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