A 47-year-old man accused of punching a hole in a valuable Monet oil-painting at the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin in June will deny criminal responsibility for the damage, a judge was told today.
Andrew Shannon of Willans Way, Ongar, Co Dublin is charged with criminal damage at the National Gallery of Ireland on June 29.
Gardai arrested him after damage was inflicted to Claude Monet's Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat painting, which is believed to be insured for up to E7m.
The 1874 impressionist oil-painting had been exhibited at the gallery's room 10, but has since been removed for examination.
Mr Shannon was before Cloverhill District Court today, having been remanded in custody on July 2 last. His solicitor Aine Flynn told Judge John Lindsay that Mr Shannon was applying for bail however detective Conor O'Braonain lodged an objection citing the seriousness of the alleged offence.
The court heard that the DPP has directed trial on indictment meaning the case will go before a judge and jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
Objecting to bail, Det-Gda O'Braonain said it would be alleged that Mr Shannon “lunged at the painting with a raised fist and punched it”. He added that the exact value of damage caused will not be known until the painting has been expertly examined.
He also told the court that on conviction the offence could result in a maximum ten-year sentence and he feared that Mr Shannon would be a flight risk and not turn up for his trial he were granted bail.
Defence solicitor Aine Flynn told the court that her client would abide by bail conditions including orders banning him from certain locations. She also asked the court to note that he suffered from health problems and that “there is going to be no admission of criminal responsibility”.
Ms Flynn said the charge would be contested and it could take a year before the trial goes ahead.
Mr Shannon told the court that he would obey conditions if he were released on bail. He said that he had suffered several heart attacks as a result of health problems caused by injuries he received in a car accident a number of years ago.
Judge Lindsay refused bail and further remanded Mr Shannon in custody to appear again in two weeks pending the preparation of a book of evidence in the case.
In reply to the charge after caution Mr Shannon had said “My solicitor has all the details", Dublin District Court had heard at his first appearance on July 2 last.