Monday 18 November 2019

Friends ambushed garda car in bid to free prisoner, court hears

Conor Gallagher

A garda car carrying a man to prison was ambushed by a group of friends in a bid to free the prisoner, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has heard.

One of the prisoner’s friend’s, Lee King (27) of no fixed abode pleaded guilty to facilitating the escape of a person from lawful custody in Ballyfermot on March 6, 2012.

Judge Martin Nolan adjourned the case to March 26 next for sentence and remanded him in custody.

Garda Ronan Coffey told prosecuting counsel Monika Leech BL gardaí were transporting Paul Byrne from Longford to Cloverhill Prison but had to take a detour to Ballyfermot Garda Station to pick up a warrant for Mr Byrne’s committal to prison.

About twenty minutes before the garda car entered Ballyfermot a group of men started to gather at the side of the road in the area.

When the garda car entered Ballyfermot it stopped at a red light behind two other cars. The prisoner was in the back of the car and the child locks were on. He had a broken leg which was resting over the back seat.

The group, which included King, opened the back door and pulled Mr Byrne out and helped him get away. When one of the gardaí got out to give chase King punched him in the side of the head before leaving the scene.

Defence counsel Sandra Frayne BL said her client has been in custody since March on this offence. She said he is “a career criminal” with 80 previous convictions but that he wants to lead a normal life on his release.

She added that he intends to take part in a community employment scheme when he leaves prison.

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