Thursday 21 September 2017

Music student sawed clamp off his car because he only had 'half of the €80 fee'

Stock photo
Stock photo

Andrew Phelan

A music student who came to Dublin for a photography course sawed a clamp off his car because he was anxious to get home and did not want to be stuck in the city for the night.

Gabriel McCallion (25), described in court as an “artistic individual,” only had half the €80 it would have cost to unclamp his car, so he spent €20 on a hacksaw to cut it off, a court heard.

Judge Anthony Halpin applied the Probation Act, leaving him without a conviction after he paid €200 compensation for the damage.

When the judge heard the car had since been re-clamped, he said he did not believe this was legal and advised the accused to make a criminal complaint against Dublin City Council.

McCallion, from Ballynease Road, Bellaghy, Derry pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to the clamp, belonging to Dublin City Council at Jones’s Road, Drumcondra.

A garda sergeant told Dublin District Court officers on patrol at 5.15pm yesterday, June 5 saw the accused cutting a clamp from a vehicle.

On speaking to him, McCallion admitted cutting the clamp from the wheel of his own vehicle. He gave his name and was arrested and taken to Mountjoy Garda Station.

He had no previous convictions.

Defence solicitor Tony Collier said he understood the cost of the damage was about €380. He did not know whether McCallion “destroyed the entire clamp or a piece of it.”

The accused had not been bailed from the garda station because he had no identification on him and lived outside the jurisdiction.

McCallion, a music student and “creative individual”  had attended a photography course in Croke Park, Mr Collier said.

The clamp would have cost €80 to have removed by the clampers but he only had €40 on him, “€20 of which he spent in a hardware shop on a hacksaw.”

“He was anxious to get home and not be stuck in Dublin,” Mr Collier said, adding that in the end McCallion had spent the night in Mountjoy Garda Station.

Mr Collier said the accused’s car had another clamp put on it in the meantime and he would have to pay €80 to release it.

Judge Halpin said he did not think Dublin City Council could re-clamp a car. There was “no legislation” to allow this, he said.

“I think he can go into the garda station and say Dublin City Council have done this illegally and make a criminal complaint,” he said, adding that there was a grace period.

“I would go in to the gardai and make a complaint,” Judge Halpin said. "There is no provision to allow Dublin City Council to re-clamp it."

The accused's brother and sister were in court for the hearing and he was released from custody after the €200 was paid over.

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