A man who tried to escape from gardaí by running 10 kms across Offaly bogs in the middle of the night, and still had to be restrained with pepper spray, was jailed for nine months in the District Court this week (November 14 ).
Judge Seamus Hughes used the trial of Denis Doran (27 ), of Crinkle, Birr, Co Offaly for his part in trying to steal scrap metal to once again highlight rural burglary.
“I don’t have an epidemic of knife crime, but I do have an epidemic of this, where you can dispose of scrap metal, no questions asked,” said the judge.
“Society expects certain types of crimes to be dealt with... and gardaí in rural areas are having to divert scarce resources to deal with people like this,” he added, noting that, because Doran had pleaded not guilty, 12 Garda witnesses involved in the cross-bog pursuit had to appear in court.
Earlier, the court had heard how gardaí on patrol in Leamonaghan, Ballycumber, Co Offaly noted a van with its lights on and engine running in the grounds of a Bord na Móna plant in the early hours of July 13.
Three men on their way home from a funeral were observed attempting to steal a pile of disused railway sleepers.
All three made their escape across the bogs, but were picked up four hours, and 10 kms away.
The court heard that when Doran was detected at the rear of a private dwelling, he picked up a rock and threatened Sergeant Dully saying: “I’ll remember your face” and “I’ll stick the head on ya”.
Doran had to be subdued with pepper spray both at this location, and in Garda custody later that day.
Both co-defendants had already been before the courts.
“Was he dishevelled looking?” asked the judge.
“He looked very rough, very wet,” agreed Garda Brendan Kenny in evidence.
Doran had 48 previous convictions, covering theft, burglary, criminal damage, drug dealing, driving without insurance, public order offences, and two years in jail for unlawful carnal knowledge of a 15-year-old girl when he was 21.
His barrister Mr Ray Kennedy argued against incarceration on account of Doran’s heroin addiction, and that his client wanted to raise his family.
“I came from a broken home and I don’t want that for my kids,” said Doran..
However, when Inspector Nicholas Farrell revealed Doran’s partner had taken out a protection order against him, Mr Kennedy conceded he didn’t know this.
“The first thing you think of in the mornings isn’t your girlfriend...” started the judge.
“... it’s a bag of heroin,” conceded Doran.
The judge sentenced Doran to 10 months in prison, but suspended the last month on the defendant’s suggestion for time already served.