Thursday 25 December 2014

Priest 'confronted by drug user with syringe at poor box', court told

Published 09/08/2014 | 07:39

Dublin Criminal Court
Dublin Criminal Court

A drug user pulled a syringe on a priest and threatened him with it after he was confronted for "fishing" money from a church poor box, it has been alleged.

Mark Pierce (33) is accused of making the threat with the needle after the priest confronted him for taking €20 using a glue-covered wire.

The priest, Fr William Fitzpatrick, was able to disarm him and hold him at the scene along with a parish worker until the gardai arrived, a court heard.

Mr Pierce was remanded in custody at Dublin District Court after no bail application was made by his lawyer on his behalf. Judge Michael Walsh adjourned the case for the directions of the DPP to be made available.

Mr Pierce, from Cypress Downs, Templeogue, but currently of no fixed address, is charged with threatening to injure Fr William Fitzpatrick with a syringe and possession of a piece of wire with glue at one end for use in the course of a theft.

He is also charged with stealing approximately €20 from the poor box at the Oblate Church, Tyrconnell Road, Inchicore, on August 6. The charges are under the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person and Theft and Fraud Acts.

Garda Paul Geraghty of Kilmainham Station said it was alleged the accused entered the church with an implement adapted for taking money from the poor box. When the accused went to leave, he was accosted by the priest who tried to stop him, the garda alleged.

"He produced an uncapped syringe and threatened the priest," Garda Geraghty said.

He arrived with Garda Graham O'Neill and the accused was arrested.

It was alleged that he made admissions in relation to the theft but not the syringe when interviewed.

Garda Geraghty told Judge Walsh he arrested the defendant at 6.40pm on August 6.

Mr Pierce was brought to the station, where he was detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act before being charged at 12.20am onThursday. The defendant made no reply to the charges after caution and was handed a copy of the charge sheets.

Garda Geraghty said the directions of the DPP were not yet available. The directions will determine whether the case can be dealt with at district court level or if it will have to be sent for jury trial to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

He granted legal aid, assigning solicitor Joe McNally, after there were no objections by gardai.

The accused was remanded in custody, to appear in Cloverhill District Court next week.

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