Thursday 22 August 2019

Judge says he 'signally failed' in his efforts to stop autistic medical school dropout from sending harassing letters to RCSI

Judge Nolan warned that
Judge Nolan warned that "this court will take a good deal of persuasion" that there would be no re-offending.

Conor Gallagher

A judge has said he “signally failed” in his efforts to stop a autistic medical school dropout from sending harassing letters to the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI).

Corkman Colin Joyce (35) was remanded in jail for three months today after a court heard he has continued to send the letters along with allegedly committing several other acts of harassment.

Joyce was given a three year suspended sentence last February for sending threatening letters to ten of his past supervisors and tutors at the college because he was angry he had been refused re-admission to allow him to complete his medical degree.

On that date Judge Martin Nolan put in place a structured sentence allowing Joyce to receive treatment for his autism spectrum disorder after stating that he did not think Joyce would send any more letters. Part of the conditions of the sentence was that Joyce not have any more contact with the college.

Defence counsel Conor McKenna BL said there have since been difficulties in getting Joyce the right treatment as there are few services for adult autistic people in the country.

Mr McKenna said “the treatment never really got off the ground” but prison was not the answer. He said Joyce was ill and did not deserve to be jailed for that and added there was now a doctor in place who was willing to treat Joyce.

The court heard Joyce is currently accused of a series of offences committed since February including phoning in bomb threats to the Criminal Courts of Justice, St Patrick's Psychiatric Hospital and the Civic Offices at Wood Quay, Dublin.

He is alleged to have thrown paint over the RSCI building and to have broken several of its windows and is also accused of knocking over a trolley full of religious leaflets which were being handed out by Jehovah's Witnesses on Thomas Street.

When gardaí went to arrest him for this he is alleged to have claimed to be a kick-boxer and to have punched an garda with two fists before trying to head butt another.

Last February Joyce of The Kingsley, Carrigrohane Road, Cork pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to ten sample counts of posting a letter, enclosing a grossly, offensive and menacing article to various doctors on dates between June 25 and October 8, 2012.

The court heard the latest letters to the RCSI were similar to the original letters. The original letters demanded money from the college and threatened to release confidential information regarding 1,300 patients and have their details posted on the Wikipedia website.

Joyce said he knew “heavy individuals” around Dublin and had “a friendship” with the Taliban and that he would get local paramilitaries to put together a bomb.

Today Judge Nolan said that the purpose of his original sentence was to stop Joyce interacting with RCSI staff and that “the order has signally failed in that ambition.”

He said that this was "an unusual matter" as it seemed Joyce could not learn lessons due to his autism. He said had no confidence that Joyce would not repeat his offending behaviour as he was incapable of controlling himself.

Judge Nolan warned that "this court will take a good deal of persuasion" that there would be no re-offending, before remanding Joyce in custody for three months until his next court date on February 12, 2016.

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