Tuesday 25 April 2017

Serial offender with 160 convictions claimed to be undercover garda

Stock picture
Stock picture

Fiona Ferguson

A serial offender with 160 previous convictions claimed to be an undercover garda before taking part in handcuffing and robbing a man, a court has heard.

Gary Kearney (25) and an accomplice quoted sections of law before “searching” the man and removing his belongings on Millennium Bridge, Dublin in the early hours of the morning. The robbers were aggressive and the victim feared he would be pushed into the Liffey while handcuffed.

Kearney's previous convictions include assault, animal cruelty, robbery, theft, burglary, criminal damage and public order offences.

Defence counsel, Luigi Rea BL, told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that drink and tablets had been a feature of Kearney's life and there was a place available for him in a 12 week residential treatment program.

Kearney of Poddle Close, Crumlin, Dublin pleaded guilty to robbery, false imprisonment and theft in Dublin city centre on September 11, 2016.

Judge Melanie Greally said Kearney had an “appalling record of offending” and that if the cycle was to be broken he would have to address his addiction issues. She adjourned sentencing until May to allow Kearney attend for residential treatment at Cuan Mhuire.

Garda Brian McLoughlin told Elva Duffy BL, prosecuting, that at around 1.30am Kearney and his accomplice approached a man crossing the Millennium Bridge.

One of the men had a radio and the second had handcuffs. They told the victim he was under arrest.

This was witnessed by another man who the pair had just previously approached claiming to be undercover plain clothes gardaí and quoting a section of law. This first man had become suspicious that they were not gardaí and backed away from them.

Kearney and his accomplice quoted law again to the second man. They put handcuffs on him and told him he was being taken to Pearse Street Garda Station.

They held the man up against the bridge and the victim feared he would be pushed into the Liffey while wearing the handcuffs. They searched him and took his phone, travel and bank cards.

Gda McLoughlin said due to the aggression of the men the victim began to suspect they were not gardai and asked for his belongings back. They returned his travel and bank cards and removed his handcuffs.

They said he would get his phone back at the garda station but when he continued to ask for it the men began to handcuff him again. The man defended himself and was assisted by the witness. A woman filmed part of the incident on her mobile phone.

Gda McLoughlin said he and a colleague arrived at this point and arrested Kearney. His accomplice fled the scene and has not been charged.

Gda McLoughlin said the handcuffs were “quite realistic” and the victim believed they were real. He agreed with Mr Rea that they were not of the same standard as garda handcuffs.

Mr Rea said Kearney had written a letter of apology to the victim in which he said he was ashamed of his actions and realised it was entirely inappropriate.

The court will heard a full plea in mitigation on Kearney's behalf from Mr Rea on the next date.

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