Man smashes up own car when told it would be seized, court hears

A 26-year-old Athenry man who violently smashed up up his own car with an iron bar when told by a gardai that it was going to be seized, has been sentenced to a total of four months in jail.

John Ward with an address at 54 Cullairbaun, Athenry, appeared at Galway District Court on Monday charged with obstruction, threatening and abusive behaviour, production of an article in the course of a dispute/fight, and dangerous driving at Headford Road on September 15, 2012. A charge for criminal damage and driving without reasonable consideration were struck out.

Garda Garrett Cafferkey told the court that at 2am he had observed a Peugeot car driving at a speed of 91kmph in a 50kmph zone on the Quincentennial Bridge. Ward was stopped on the Headford Road and a demand for the production of documents was made. The defendant told Garda Cafferkey that he had the car on loan from the garage and had not transfered the insurance yet.

When he was informed that the car would be seized Ward grabbed the keys in the ignition and told Garda Cafferkey “no f**king way are you going to take the car”.

Garda Cafferkey explained that he had given Ward a number of warnings, including that pepper spray could be utilised. However, Ward failed to calm down and as Garda Cafferkey was arranging for the car to be towed Ward took an iron bar out of the boot and began to smash up his own car.

“He smashed up all the windows and panels and kept shouting that he would kill us,” said Garda Cafferkey, who had been forced to call for assistance. When the armed RSU vehicle arrived at the scene Ward threw the iron bar in the rear of the car.

The court then heard that Ward has 23 previous convictions including driving without insurance, no driving licence and failing to stop. Other convictions include offences for threatening and abusive behaviour and criminal damage.

Defence solicitor Alma Whelan said that her client apologises for his behaviour, that he is bipolar and had been on medication at the time that did not suit him and “rendered him agitated”. She added that her client’s medication has since been changed and that his manner is better.

Judge Aeneas McCarthy convicted Ward for production of an article and sentenced him to four months in jail. A further three months, to run concurrently, was imposed for driving without insurance along with a three year disqualification from driving, and a two month jail sentence, to run concurrently, was imposed for obstruction. The charge for threatening and abusive behaviour was taken into consideration


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