Thursday 15 November 2018

'That's for garda Tom' - Mum-of-three accused of endangering life of garda offers apology

Christina Joyce. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM
Christina Joyce. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM

Andrew Phelan

A MUM-of-three accused of endangering the life of a garda who was dragged 50 metres by a car has apologised to the officer and said she wants to plead guilty.

Dublin District Court heard that Christina Joyce (30) wished to enter signed pleas to a series of charges brought after Gda Thomas Gallagher was hit by a car while on checkpoint duty on a city street.

Ms Joyce, who is charged with driving at him, causing a risk of death or serious harm, handed over a written apology, saying: “That’s for garda Tom.”

She withdrew a bail application on 15 charges and Judge Patricia McNamara remanded her in custody to a date next month.

The judge noted that a book of evidence would not be required for Ms Joyce to be sent forward to the Circuit Court.

The incident happened on April 9 on Macken Street, South Dublin, when Gda Gallagher was hit and dragged about 50 metres as he tried to stop a grey Volvo car.

He was taken to hospital where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Ms Joyce was initially charged in April with six offences including dangerous driving and assault causing harm to Gda Gallagher.

On June 13, 15 additional charges were brought, including endangerment of Gda Gallagher’s life, failing to keep the car stationary and remain at the scene, driving with no licence or insurance, dangerous driving at Grand Canal Quay and Baggot Street and two counts of resisting arrest.

Gda Christopher Jones objected to bail on these 15 charges. The court heard bail had been refused at the High Court on the initial six charges.

Judge McNamara questioned the benefit of the accused getting bail on the latest charges as she would remain in custody on the earlier ones.

Her barrister, Keith Spencer, said the accused was seeking bail on condition that she received treatment.

He said his client had a depressive illness and had had an extremely traumatic upbringing, with four of her siblings dying.

Ms Joyce had already been in custody since April 11 and it had been apparent that her case would be going to the Circuit Court, Mr Spencer said.

She had become “somewhat exasperated” by the process and the length of time it took for the DPP’s directions to be given.

The court heard the DPP was directing trial on indictment on the new charges, and there was consent to the accused being sent forward to the Circuit Court on a signed plea of guilty.

Mr Spencer said he was not aware of these factors and consulted the accused. He then said he was withdrawing her bail application.

The defence was accepting whatever stage the prosecution file was at, and “she just wishes to be sent forward as soon as possible”, Mr Spencer said.

The court heard that Ms Joyce was in Mountjoy’s Dochas Centre.

“I went down to Limerick for just a week to do a hairdressing course,” she told the judge.

Judge McNamara remanded her in custody by consent and noted that the accused “wishes to go forward on a signed plea” on all charges.

Mr Spencer said the accused had “asked me to convey an apology letter to the gardai”.

Gda Jones said he would “pass it on”.

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