Saturday 17 February 2018

Teacher posing as a garda is jailed

Annette Bonner
Annette Bonner

Eimear Cotter

A TEACHER posing as a garda ordered a petrol station assistant to open up a shop so she could use the ATM.

Annette Bonner (37) was dressed in full garda uniform which she had taken from a serving officer, who was renting a room in her house.

Bonner claimed she initially put the uniform on “for fun” after her tenant – Garda Maria O'Hara – came home from a night out.

However, she then “stupidly” left the house.

However, this was rejected by gardai, who said Garda O'Hara, who was stationed at Pearse Street, was unaware Bonner had taken the uniform.

A court heard Bonner has had problems with alcohol since her father, a retired garda, died of cancer last October.

Sentencing Bonner to three months in prison, Judge David McHugh said that impersonating a garda was a very serious offence.

Bonner, of Lohunda Crescent, in Clonsilla, immediately appealed the matter.

She admitted before Blanchardstown District Court to impersonating a member of An Garda Siochana.

She also admitted to assuming the name and rank of Garda O'Hara.

Sergeant Maria Callaghan said Bonner turned up at Discount Fuels in Clonsilla at around 6am on July 5, 2012, in full uniform. She was also wearing epaulettes on her shoulders, which had Garda O'Hara's garda district letter and ID number.

Sgt Callaghan said Bonner filled her car with petrol and bought groceries, worth €23. The court heard that the shop was closed but operates a hatch |system.

Sgt Callaghan said Bonner went to pay but her Laser card was rejected.

She then identified herself as a garda and ordered the assistant to open up so she could use the ATM.

The sergeant said the assistant opened the shutters to let Bonner use the ATM, but she failed to get cash.

Sgt Callaghan said Bonner again told the assistant she was a garda and would return in 30 minutes with money to pay.

Sgt Callaghan said Bonner signed the receipt in Garda O'Hara's name but never returned.

The items were later paid for by Bonner's brother.

Bonner’s defence lawyer said she is genuinely ashamed of her actions.

The court heard Bonner was at home watching TV when Garda O'Hara came home.

Bonner then put the garda uniform on “for fun,” and the pair were joking and laughing.

The lawyer said Garda O'Hara fell asleep and Bonner stupidly left the house in the uniform.

When her Laser card was refused, she gave the garda's name but she then panicked and did not return.

Sgt Callaghan rejected this, saying Garda O'Hara was not aware Bonner had put on her uniform.

The lawyer said Bonner has had a problem with alcohol since her father’s death.

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