Sunday 25 February 2018

Garda threatened to break man's legs in car dispute, trial hears

Sonya McLean

A CAR dealer agreed to steal a garda's car so the officer could claim for it on his insurance – after being threatened that his legs would be broken by the officer, a court has heard.

Christopher Kelly (30), who was running a garage in Trim, Co Meath, at the time, told the jury that he agreed to repair Garda Paul Fogarty's (27) Toyota Celica after it had been involved in a single-vehicle crash in January 2008.

A dispute arose over the condition of the vehicle when it was returned to Mr Fogarty.

Mr Kelly claims that he then received around 600 text messages over a number of months. He described the messages as offensive and threatening and said the garda told him at one stage he would break his legs and kick his parents' door in.

Mr Kelly claimed the accused implied he didn't know who he was messing with.

Mr Kelly later agreed with Breffni Gordon, defending, that he had served a jail term for handling and possessing stolen vehicles after his garage was raided by gardai in April 2009.

He refused to accept a suggestion from counsel that he reported the alleged harassment to gardai as "leverage" when he was caught with the stolen cars.

"There was no idea hatched. I was caught red-handed and I pleaded guilty," Mr Kelly said.

DECEPTION

He accepted that he had used the word "leverage" to gardai when later giving a statement to them, but Mr Kelly said counsel was twisting his words.

Mr Fogarty, who is based at Dundrum garda station, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to harassing Mr Kelly and his father on dates between November 1, 2008, and May 31, 2009.

Mr Fogarty has also pleaded not guilty to dishonestly by deception inducing Quinn Direct to pay out an insurance claim of €10,254 at Littlepace, Clonee, Co Meath.

Mr Kelly told Melanie Greally, prosecuting, that a dispute arose between him and the accused in November 2008 when he returned the Celica to Mr Fogarty and he was unhappy with the bumper.

He told Ms Greally that he recruited someone whom he knew was "not a law-abiding citizen" to steal a car of the same model and spec as Mr Fogarty's, took body parts from it and transferred them to the accused's car. He then returned the car to the accused.

He told the jury he was worried for his safety.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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