Monday 16 December 2019

Dublin man threatened to set himself on fire outside garda station, court hears

Criminal Courts of Justice
Criminal Courts of Justice

Declan Brennan

A Dublin man poured petrol on himself outside a garda station and threatened to set himself on fire, a court has heard.

Gareth Byrne (32) held a lighter above his head for about a minute while gardai implored him to drop it. He eventually did and gardai arrested him.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Byrne became irate and showed up at the station shortly after gardai seized his car during a routine traffic check

Byrne of Swansnest Avenue, Kilbarrack pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment at Clontarf Garda Station on August 7, 2012.

Judge Desmond Hogan adjourned the matter to January next and ordered that Byrne be assessed to see if he is suitable for community work. He said he couldn’t understand why a man of his age had reacted in such a way.

Garda Manus Keane told Anne Rowland BL, prosecuting, that Byrne’s vehicle was stopped during a routine road traffic stop and the car was seized when Byrne was unable to produce proof of insurance.

He agreed with Keith Spencer BL, defending, that it was later found that Byrne had the car properly insured.

Mr Spencer said his client became irate and showed up at the station twenty minutes later and told a garda that he would return and burn the station down.

Byrne then took a taxi to a petrol station, bought a can of petrol and took the taxi back to the garda station.

He went into the station and told gardai he was going to set the station and himself on fire, saying: “Look what you’ve made me do. I’ve a can of petrol outside. I will set you, me and the station on fire.”

He went back out and took the can out of the taxi and poured the petrol on himself. Byrne then put the can down and took out a lighter, the court heard.

Mr Spencer said gardai implored Byrne to put the lighter down and after a minute he threw it on the ground and gardai restrained him.

The father of two now has his own towing company business. His 41 previous convictions include road traffic offences, possession of drugs and possession of knives

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