Pair charged after garda injured in high-speed chase

Two men, arrested after a high-speed pursuit during which a garda was injured, have been remanded in custody after being charged with theft and a range of road traffic offences.

The pair, Damien Fitzgerald, aged 27, of Inniscarra Rd, Fairhill, Cork, and John Paul O’Driscoll, aged 27, with an address care of the Simon Community, Cork, were brought before a special sitting of Cork District Court just after 12pm on Saturday where evidence of arrest, charge, and caution was heard.

Garda Robert Kelleher of Douglas Garda Station told Judge Olan Kelleher that he charged Mr O’Driscoll in the early hours of Saturday morning with stealing a vehicle on MacCurtain St on April 17, with theft at the Vienna Woods Hotel on April 18, and with five separate counts of dangerous driving on April 18 — on the Rochestown Rd, at Glencaum, Rathduff, at Clogheen Milcon, Blarney, at Brian Boru Bridge, Cork, and at Parnell Place, Cork.

He said once the charges were put to Mr O’Driscoll, he replied: “I’m sorry, and I’m sorry for the guard.”

Garda Kennedy told the court he charged Mr Fitzgerald in the early hours of Saturday morning with allowing himself to be carried in a stolen vehicle at Lower Killeen, Blarney, on April 17, and with theft from the function room at The Vienna Woods Hotel on April 18.

He said Fitzgerald replied “I’m sorry” to each of the charges.

Both men talked loudly to family members who were in court for the brief hearing. Both men also had several injuries on their faces.

Mr Fitzgerald, who was wearing a dark blue Addidas tracksuit top, grey tracksuit bottoms, and black Nike boots, had cuts and marks on his forehead, on the bridge of his nose, and a large bruise under his right eye.

O’Driscoll, who was wearing an off-white T-shirt and grey trousers, had slightly smaller cuts on his forehead and one over his left eye.

Mr Fitzgerald then asked to address the judge. He limped towards the bench and told Judge Kelleher that it had been his birthday on April 16 and that he had been drinking all day.

“We went on a bender,” said Mr Fitzgerald.

He also said he wished to apologise but when he said six guards pinned him down, the judge told him it was not appropriate to discuss these matters now, to stop talking, and to sit down.

There was no application for bail. The pair’s solicitor, Diarmuid Kelleher, said both men were unemployed and in receipt of social welfare allowances, and free legal aid was granted.

He also asked the judge to direct that both men receive the appropriate medical treatment and psychiatric assessment while in custody.

The judge remanded both men in custody to appear before the district court again on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Cork City Joint Policing Committee praised traffic corps Garda Michael Twomey, who is still recovering from his injuries.

“He is a credit to his family, An Garda Síochána, and our city and we are grateful for the professional manner in which he and his colleagues carried out their duties,” said Tony Fitzgerald.

“I wish him a very speedy recovery at home with his family and I wish to thank him for sacrificing his own health and safety in the interest of the public.”

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