Saturday 16 February 2019

Man accused of threatening gardai with angle grinder and saying 'the time for talking is over' will face trial

Tony Rochford
Tony Rochford
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

A MAN has been sent for trial accused of threatening gardai with an angle grinder when they came to investigate damage to a motorway toll gantry.

Tony Rochford (49) allegedly brandished the angle grinder, told gardai: “the time for talking is over”, switched it on and ran it “aggressively” in front of them.

Officers were responding to allegations that Mr Rochford had caused damage to a gantry’s entry gate at the M50 in west Dublin.

He had a book of evidence served on him when he appeared in Blanchardstown District Court today.

Mr Rochford, of Steeple Manor, Trim Co Meath, is accused of having an angle grinder intended to cause injury. The charge alleges that he was found in a confrontational state and when gardai intervened, he threatened them with the tool, attempting to strike a garda with it.

He is also charged with offensive conduct by threatening a garda with an angle grinder, breach of the peace, and causing criminal damage to the E-flow toll gantry entry gate.

The offences are alleged to have happened on May 3, 2018

Judge David McHugh previously ruled the case was too serious to be dealt with at district court level.

When it came back before the court today, a State solicitor said a book of evidence had been served on the accused and the DPP was consenting to the case being returned for trial to the next sittings of Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Judge McHugh gave Mr Rochford the formal warning that he must provide any alibi details to the prosecution within 14 days.

The accused, wearing a blue zip-up top and blue jeans, put on a pair of reading glasses before thumbing through the book of evidence when it was handed to him.

Judge McHugh granted free legal aid following an application by defence solicitor Evan Moore. He sent the defendant forward to appear in the circuit court on October 26.

Previously, Garda Sergeant Geraldine McManigan said gardai were called to the M50 northbound toll bridge in Dublin 15 after security reported that damage had been caused to the gate.

 It was alleged the accused was standing at the back of his vehicle and had attempted to gain entry to the gantry by cutting the locking mechanism on the entry gate.

When gardai spoke to him, he replied: “the time for talking is over,” Sgt McManigan said.

He had an angle grinder in his hand and when one of the gardai tried to take it from him he became aggressive, she continued.

It was alleged Mr Rochford switched on the angle grinder and ran it in an “aggressive manner”, brandishing it about recklessly while it was active. One of the gardai drew his baton and struck the angle grinder with it, to no avail, the court heard.

The accused was eventually apprehended and arrested. The value of the damage caused to the gate was between €500 and €1,000.

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