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'I don't think I would be that stupid' - man jailed for hurling lit petrol bomb at garda


Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

A man who "hurled" an ignited petrol bomb in the direction of a garda who was standing by a vehicle waiting for it to be towed away has been jailed for four years.

Gerard Dunne (32) had been spotted by Garda Karl Kelly acting suspiciously, cycling around on a pink and white bike, before he threw the lit petrol bomb across a road in his direction.

It hit a curb and smashed, emitting a flame.

Detective Sergeant Eoin Colbert told Antonia Boyle BL, prosecuting, that Gda Kelly had spotted the item as it came across the road and managed to run out of the way. Had the garda been facing the opposite direction he would have been injured, he said.

Following his arrest and having been shown CCTV footage of the incident, Dunne told gardaí: "I don't think I would throw a petrol bomb at a copper, I don't think I would be that stupid."

He denied any intention to throw the petrol bomb at the garda but accepted later that it could have been him when he was informed that gardaí had nominated him as a suspect after they viewed the footage.

Dunne, of Coultry Drive, Ballymun, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to endangerment and possession of a petrol bomb on the Link Road, Darndale, Dublin, on April 29, 2019.

His 97 previous convictions include endangerment, assault causing harm, attempted robbery, drug dealing, possession of knives and road traffic offences.

A victim impact statement from Gda Kelly said he was shocked at how easily the incident happened.

"I have thought about it on many occasions and how lucky I was to see it in my peripheral vision. Otherwise I would have ended up with life-changing injuries," he said.

Gda Kelly said his views had changed towards his job and dealings with the public, and the incident had made him "more wary".

Karl Monahan BL, defending, told Judge Melanie Greally that Dunne said he was in "a drug-fuelled haze" at the time and claimed he was aiming the device at the vehicle beside Gda Kelly rather than at the garda himself.

He said his client's "recollection was largely prompted by the CCTV footage". He said Dunne "very much regrets his behaviour" and had used his time on remand in custody to deal with his drug addiction.

The judge said it appeared from the CCTV footage that Dunne had been "lying in wait" before he "hurled" the petrol bomb.

"It shows him in broad daylight, engaged in an exercise of scoping and waiting and timing his move when he threw a petrol bomb towards Gda Kelly, who was a lone member of An Garda Síochána carrying out his duties."

She described it as "a very serious incident of endangerment" and said Gda Kelly had no expectation of being placed in danger.

She sentenced Dunne to four-and-a-half years in prison and suspended the final six months on strict conditions.

Irish Independent