Limerick teenager on trial for endangering garda

David Hurley & Mike


David Hurley & Mike

Limerick Courthouse
THE trial of a teenager who is accused of trying to knock down a garda in the Southill area of the city is expected to reach a conclusion this week.

THE trial of a teenager who is accused of trying to knock down a garda in the Southill area of the city is expected to reach a conclusion this week.

The defendant, who can’t be named because of his age, is accused of “recklessly or intentionally” endangering the life of Garda Niamh Keogh on May 23, 2012.

It is alleged the then 15-year-old drove a stolen car at the garda who was on foot patrol in O’Malley Park.

In her evidence, Garda Keogh, who is a community garda for the area, said at around 4pm she was alerted to a red Mazda 323 car, which was performing 360 degree turns near the health centre.

She said the car was being driven erratically and in a dangerous manner and that it “was out of control all over the road”.

Garda Keogh said around 20 youths had gathered in the area and that when they saw her they attempted to alert the driver of the Mazda to her presence.

Having initially left the area, the vehicle then returned before it was driven in her direction.

“I had to take evasive action, I jumped behind a pillar to protect myself,” said told the court adding that she feared for her safety.

“I thought I was going to be killed or seriously injured, I was in fear of my life,” she said adding that while the vehicle was being driven at high speed she did not know how fast it was travelling.

Garda Keogh told John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, she had a “clear and unobstructed” view of the driver as the car passed her and she identified the defendant as the driver.

“I immediately recognised him,” she said adding that she was “100% sure” it was the defendant.

It is the prosecution case that the vehicle then left the area and that Garda Keogh requested assistance from her colleagues.

The defendant was arrested later in the same evening in the O’Malley Park area and the car was also recovered.

Being cross-examined by Brendan Nix SC, defending, Garda Keogh said she was “100% certain” the young male she had seen at the wheel of the stolen car was the accused.

Mr Nix questioned how it was possible that she could recognise somebody she had seen only in profile and in a car that had “flashed by at 60kph at a conservative guess”.

He also noted that Garda Keogh, when she had called for assistance on her radio, had failed to mention the accused by name.

Garda Keogh replied that there had been a group of up to 20 youths in the area who had jeered at her in the aftermath of the near-miss.

“I didn’t want to say his (the accused teen’s) name because I didn’t want the youths to alert him I knew he was driving,” she said.

Mr Nix put it to her that she could have gone into the health centre to pass on the information to colleagues in a more discreet way.

Gardai in mobile patrols had been alerted to a red Mazda car “on the go” in Southill but had not been given any name for the driver, Mr Nix said.

“I say you had no idea who was driving the car and that’s why you didn’t give a name,” said Mr Nix, which Garda Keogh denied.

Gardai had been “on the lookout for somebody in a grey hoodie” but when his client had been detained, he had been wearing a black tracksuit pants rather than all-grey.

The trial continues at Limerick Circuit Court before Judge Carroll Moran and a jury.