Thursday 29 September 2016

Man tries to throw glass of water at judge in court after comment made about his mother

Published 18/01/2016 | 17:14

Judge Patrick McCartan
Judge Patrick McCartan

A man who was due to be sentenced for being a passenger in a stolen car jumped out of the dock and tried to throw a glass of water at the judge.

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Leon Murphy (20) was before Judge Patrick McCartan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court when he took issue over a comment the judge made about his mother.

Murphy of Snowdrop Walk, Darndale, Dublin pleaded guilty to allowing himself to be carried in a stolen car on the Malahide Road on May 18, 2015. He has 89 previous convictions, 40 of which were for road traffic offences.

The evidence had been heard and Judge McCartan was enquiring as to Murphy's prospects for the future when he was advised by Patrick Jackson BL, defending, that the man's mother, a reformed heroin addict, wished to help her son.

The woman was pointed out to the judge who then commented that he had seen her in the court earlier in the day and she had seemed “all over the place”. He asked Mr Jackson to confirm that the woman had dealt with her addiction.

Murphy became irate and started to shout abuse at the judge.

His mother said, from the body of the court, that the judge was implying that she had been on drugs when she came into court earlier. She said she hadn't been and said she had letters from a counsellor to prove that she has addressed her addiction.

Murphy again became irate before his mother shouted up at the judge; “You're after upsetting the child. He is after taking from what you said that I was on drugs”.

Murphy then jumped up out of the dock and grabbed a glass of water that had been sitting on a bench in front of the judge. He went to throw the glass before prison officers, a court garda and the judge's tip staff jumped in and prevented him from throwing it.

He was escorted out of court by prison officers and guards who were struggling to restrain him, while he continued to threaten and shout abuse at Judge McCartan.

“You made a great job of that, didn't you?” Ms Murphy shouted up at the judge.

She continued to shout and say that she wanted the judge to make it clear to her son that she had not been on drugs.

Judge McCartan adjourned the case back to another court for sentence before a different judge. He said it wouldn't be fair on Murphy for him to continue with the case “because of his attitude shown towards him”.

 He later addressed prison officers and said because everything happened so quickly he didn't actually see who had come to his aid.

“All I saw was a glass coming in my direction. Thank you very much for the speed at which you came to my assistance. If it wasn't you, please convey my appreciation to your colleagues”, Judge McCartan said before he apologised to the court for “any part I may have played” in what had happened.

Garda Amanda King told Joseph Barnes BL, prosecuting, gardaí were alerted to a car in the River Meade area of St Margaret's driving around with no lights on. Some of the occupants had also been spotted acting suspiciously knocking on residents' doors.

She and her colleague saw the car and indicated to the driver to pull over but he took off at speed.

This led to a chase during which the driver drove with no lights on unlit country roads at high speeds. The driver later had no choice but to turn on his lights because he couldn't see where he was going.

He drove around the back of Dublin Airport before eventually turning into Swords.

Gda King said at one point the passengers were hanging out of the car and seemed to be recording the chase on their mobile phones.

The driver ultimately drove to Malahide where he lost control of the car and crashed into the walls of Malahide Castle. All five passengers fled the scene but were chased by Gda King and her colleague.

Four were arrested and prosecuted. The driver, a juvenile, was sentenced to six months, a second passenger received an 18 months sentence and another man is due to stand trial next July.

Gda King said the vehicle, which had been stolen during a burglary in Raheny, earlier that day, was written off.

Mr Jackson told the court that Murphy's mother was a reformed heroin addict who now wanted to help her son. He had been brought up by his grandparents after his father died when he was four year old.

Judge McCartan said he had noticed the woman coming into court and asked counsel to confirm that she was no longer using drugs. “She seemed all over the place to me,” the judge said.

Murphy cursed and told the judge to just “get on with it”. When Judge McCartan said he was trying to do the best for him and see if a probation report would help him, the man replied.

“I don't want probation to be honest. I don't give a rats.”

Judge McCartan said he could see Murphy was “a big hard man” from his “swagger” into court.

Murphy's mother then spoke from the body of the court and insisted she was not on any drugs when she appeared in court earlier.

“I can make good of him,” Ms Murphy said before the judge said her son didn't seem to be interested.

He noted that Murphy was “very easily upset” before he said he was trying to get “the straight facts” to see if there was “anything useful that can be done.”

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