Friday 15 December 2017

‘Tell his ma I’m sorry’, car death suspect told gardai

Joseph Robinson pictured arriving at the Criminal Courts of Justice Pic: Paddy Cummins/
Joseph Robinson pictured arriving at the Criminal Courts of Justice Pic: Paddy Cummins/

Andrew Phelan

A Dublin man arrested in connection with an alleged car-jacking and crash in which another man died told gardai: “Tell his ma I’m sorry,” a court heard.

Joseph Robinson (24) appeared in Dublin District Court today charged with dangerous driving causing the death of his friend Alex Doyle (25), who suffered horrific, fatal injuries after the taxi crashed.

Judge Michael Walsh refused to grant him bail and remanded him in custody, for the directions of the DPP to be made available.

The court heard Mr Robinson, of Forbes Lane, Dublin 8 is disputing the allegation that the taxi was hijacked before it crashed into a lamp-post at Mount Brown, Old Kilmainham on Sunday.

The accused is claiming he had been driving with the consent of the taxi owner, who had taken drugs with him.

Garda David O’Hanlon told the court he arrested the defendant at Kilmainham Station at 8.26pm yesterday evening.

His reply after caution was: “Tell his ma I’m sorry,” Gda O’Hanlon told Judge Walsh.

Garda O’Hanlon said his grounds for objecting to bail included the nature and seriousness of the allegations.

He said it would be alleged that the defendant was party to the hijacking of a red Skoda Octavia taxi at Olliver Bond Street, Dublin 8 at 8.30am. He alleged that Mr Robinson drove the vehicle while intoxicated and at “extreme, excessive high speeds.”

The car dangerously overtook other vehicles on the wrong side of the road, causing one oncoming vehicle to take avoidance action, crashing into a wall.

The incident culminated in the Octavia crashing at high speed into a metal lamppost, causing the death of the front seat passenger, who was thrown from the vehicle, Garda O’Hanlon continued.

The charge carried a maximum 10 years imprisonment on conviction.

The garda alleged that the accused was pointed out to gardai by an eyewitness 300m from the scene of the crash. He had a head injury at the time and was caught “red handed,” the garda said. It was also alleged that he made admissions in interview and was captured on CCTV fleeing the scene.

Applying for bail, Defence Solicitor Michael Kelleher said the defendant and alleged victim had been best friends;  Mr Doyle had been in the car of his own volition and it was not a case where an innocent passer-by was struck down.

He said the accused was adamant that the vehicle was not hijacked and that he had driven it with the owner’s consent.

Garda O’Hanlon confirmed that the car owner had disclosed in his second statement that he had taken drugs in the taxi with the two men, and also gave two different locations for the alleged hijacking.

The garda said the owner still insisted that he had been assaulted and dragged from the vehicle, and that it was taken without his consent.

The accused’s mother Jackie Robinson broke down in tears as she asked the judge to grant bail, saying her son and Mr Doyle had been good friends and adding: “It’s such a tragedy, what happened.”

Judge Walsh said it was a “terrible tragedy that has befallen two families” and offered his sympathy.

He noted that the accused enjoyed a presumption of innocence on the charge and remanded him in custody to appear in Cloverhill District Court tomorrow. Legal aid was granted to the defendant, who is unemployed.

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