Tuesday 24 October 2017

Man head butted garda who tried to arrest him for crashing into parked cars after online date went wrong

Fiona Ferguson

A man who head butted a garda trying to arrest him for drunkenly driving into parked cars after a date with a woman he met online went wrong has been jailed for 21 months.

Christopher Morrissey (29) had got a taxi back from a pub with his date and they were sitting in his own car outside his home chatting for a time before he went into the house to get something.

His then partner came out of the house and shouted at the woman that she was his girlfriend.

Morrissey, who was disqualified from driving, tried to turn the car around but instead collided with the other vehicles. He later head butted a garda as he was being put into a squad car causing an injury to the man's mouth and damage to his teeth.

Morrissey, of Howth Road, Clontarf, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Garda Kevin Gaynor causing him harm, resisting arrest, refusing to give a sample of blood or urine, intoxication in a public place, breach of the peace and driving without insurance in Clontarf in the early hours of October 4, 2014.

The court heard Morrissey, who has 60 previous convictions, had been disqualified from driving a number of times. Most recently he was disqualified for periods of 12 and 15 years in 2011.

Judge Martin Nolan said Morrissey had demonstrated a “cavalier attitude towards the road traffic code.” He said he was unable to consider a non-custodial sentence due to his record and the seriousness of the offences.

Judge Nolan imposed a 21 month sentence and disqualified Morrissey from driving for five years.

Fiona Murphy BL, defending, said Morrissey had been extremely intoxicated and from the moment he woke up the next morning accepted he was 100pc wrong and expressed his apologies.

She said he has been “distraught” over the way he treated his now ex-girlfriend and the gardai.

Counsel said Morrissey had a difficult childhood which lead to trouble with the gardai but had turned his life around gaining employment as a handyman and on a milk run.

She asked the court to take the view that Morrissey had made a very serious mistake and consider a non-custodial option.

Garda Cormac McGill told Una Tigne BL, prosecuting, that Morrissey and a woman he had met through an online web site had gone for a drink and then taken a taxi back to his home.

They got out of the taxi and into Morrissey's car where they chatted. After a time he went into the house to get something. A woman came out of the house and began shouting she was Morrissey's girlfriend.

Morrissey got into the driver seat of the car and tried to turn it around but crashed into three parked cars. His date had to exit the car via the driver's side following the collision.

When gardai arrived at the scene Morrissey was shouting at his date and at the woman claiming to be his girlfriend. He denied driving the car and gave the name of another man.

However his date told gardai he had been driving and they observed he had the car keys in his hand.

Morrissey resisted arrest as gardai attempted to handcuff him. He refused to get into the squad car and was shouting abuse at the woman claiming to be his girlfriend.

Morrissey and the two gardai attempting to arrest him fell to the ground before he was restrained and reinforcements arrived.

As gardai put him in the squad car Morrissey put his feet into the foot well and swung backwards hitting Gda Raynor who suffered a cut to his mouth and damage to his teeth.

At the garda station Morrissey had to be restrained again after he began shouting at everyone present when he was requested to give a blood or urine sample.

Ms Murphy said Morrissey and his then partner had been together for seven years but had suffered serious issues which took a toll on the relationship.

She said “to his shame” Morrissey had been out drinking and meeting up with the lady in question rather then helping his then partner who “deserved more.”

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