Wednesday 21 August 2019

'Worst dangerous driving I have dealt with' - man who repeatedly rammed garda car following high-speed chase jailed

Keith Duffy pleaded guilty to endangerment and dangerous driving
PIC: Collins Courts
Keith Duffy pleaded guilty to endangerment and dangerous driving PIC: Collins Courts

Brion Hoban

A MAN who repeatedly rammed a garda patrol car at the conclusion of a high speed chase has been jailed four four years.

Keith Duffy (31) with an address at Kempton Green, Navan Road, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to endangerment, dangerous driving and criminal damage at various locations in the Dublin 7 area on March 30, 2018.

Garda Sean Kelly told Aideen Collard BL, prosecuting, that on the date in question gardaí were on the lookout for a van involved in a robbery the previous day and a patrol car spotted the van being driven by Duffy in the Cabra area.

The van took off at speed when gardaí approached and a chase ensued which lasted 26 minutes. At one point during the chase the van stopped on one side of a humpback bridge and waited for the patrol car, then attempted to ram the car when it arrived forcing it onto the footpath.

Two further patrol cars took up the chase which concluded when the van turned into a cul-de-sac at Newgrange Road. The van reversed, twice rammed into a garda patrol car and attempted to ram the car a third time only to be blocked by another patrol car.

Gda Kelly said the window of the van had to be smashed to remove the accused. He said that in his ten years in the district this incident was “the worst dangerous driving I have ever dealt with”.

Duffy has 66 previous convictions. These include convictions for careless driving, drunken driving, driving without a licence and criminal damage.

Gda Kelly agreed with Ronan Prendergast BL, defending, that Duffy was sent into a spiral by the death of his grandmother earlier that month and he began abusing illicit substances. Mr Prendergast said his client apologised to all gardaí involved with the case.

Judge Pauline Codd sentenced Duffy to five and a half years imprisonment, but suspended the final 18 months on condition that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour and follow the directions of the Probation Service for a period of 18 months.

She said the offences were aggravated by the fact that they took place in the context of gardaí doing their duty. She commended the gardaí for their conduct and their courage on the night.

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