| 14.1°C Dublin

Deft gardai foil attack on judge in court

A PAIR of quick-thinking gardai stopped a defendant from lunging at a judge and attacking him after they grabbed the man's trousers and pushed him to the ground.

The defendant, who is in his 20s, was before Tallaght District Court when he jumped out of the witness box and tried to climb on to the judge's bench.

Two court gardai saw the man attempt to lunge at Judge David McHugh, but they jumped after him, grabbed his trousers and knocked him to the ground.

Eyewitnesses praised Judge McHugh for his calmness in dealing with the situation, after he ordered the man to calm down.

They also praised the two gardai, who have more than 40 years service between them, for their quick thinking in stopping the man from hitting the judge.


The attacker was taken in to the custody box in the Tallaght courtroom, given a glass of water and told to remain calm.

The incident has again raised the need for increased security in Dublin courthouses, following a number of recent incidents. Last December, a woman slashed the neck of a man in Blanchardstown courthouse, and earlier this year a foreign man jumped off the stairs in the new Criminal Courts of Justice.

Witnesses in Tallaght court said the incident took place shortly before noon, after the court was cleared so Judge McHugh could deal with a matter "in camera".

The defendant, his mother and a number of gardai, solicitors and reporters were in the courtroom at the time.

Witnesses said the incident happened "very quickly".

The defendant was sitting in a witness box to the left of the judge, when he stood up, jumped over the bench, and into a small area beside the judge's bench.

He then lunged at the judge, who was sitting behind a raised bench.

However, the experienced court gardai grabbed the man's trousers as he lunged at the judge and pushed him to the ground.

The man did not touch Judge McHugh.

The man's case was adjourned for four weeks for DPP's directions.