Tuesday, 19 October 2010 09:40
A twenty-four year-old Ballinrobe man who was on a cocktail of cocaine, ecstasy, vodka and beer pleaded guilty at Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court to charges of causing harm to a passenger in a car he had commandeered. The escapade took him to various parts of Mayo and Galway in the early hours of May 31, 2008. Shane Warde, 2 Mayfield Court, Ballinrobe, also pleased guilty to a further charge of seizing a motor vehicle by force or threatening to use force. Judge
Anthony G. Hunt described it as an extraordinary case, which seemed to demand a prison sentence.
The court heard that at various times when the defendant and three other passengers, including one juvenile, travelled to numerous towns including Westport, Tuam, Claremorris and Castlebar, Warde took control of the vehicle which belonged to one of the passengers, a Cathal McGreal.
At one stage a knife was produced by the defendant. The owner of the car feared for his life.
During the journey they ran into the back of another vehicle. At the end of the night the defendant smashed up the car causing over €3,400 worth of damage.
No compensation had been paid to the injured party who also received an injury to his ear when the defendant swung a knife while they were driving. He also struck him in the face with a bottle.
However, having read a report from the probation services, which indicated the defendant had shown genuine remorse for his actions and had written a letter of apology to the injured party and was clean from drugs for the past 18 months, Judge Hunt adjourned sentence for 12 months attaching a number of conditions.
One of those is that he stay away from the injured party, does not drive a vehicle from January 1 until his court appearance in a year's time, make a 'reasonable and concrete gesture' in terms of financial compensation and abide by the bail bond to stay out of trouble for 12 months.
Mr. Eoghan Garavan, B.L., defending, said the family background of his client was not good.
Sergeant Josephine McElroy said the incidents began when Cathal McGreal was driving a friend home to Church View, Ballinrobe.
When he pulled up at a junction three men asked him for a lift. They got into the back of his car and a fourth, the defendant, got into the front.
From there began a series of trips which first took them to Cahir Pier, two miles away, where Shane Warde called to a house, the first of many he was to call to in various towns during the following hours.
Warde then wanted to be taken to Claremorris but on route he told Cathal McGreal he wanted to go to Castlebar.
During the journey Warde swung his knife and caught McGreal on the ear causing him to bleed. One of the passengers in the back seat then intervened and the car came to a halt.
Warde took over the driving and they headed towards Ballinrobe. During the journey Warde was drinking bottles of beer as he drove. He swung the knife again at McGreal, who was now in the back seat.
At around 4.30 a.m. Warde insisted on driving to Claremorris but turned the wrong way and they ended up in Tuam.
While returning from Tuam they ran into the back of an Avenis car at a junction in Kilmaine.
Back in Ballinrobe Warde struck McGreal on the face with a bottle, which resulted in him having to go to casualty.
Later when McGreal went to retrieve his car he found the windows all smashed and the car badly damaged.
McGreal, who was 21 at the time, was frightened and had a lot of sleepless nights for weeks after the event.
His one great fear was going into Ballinrobe as he was nervous of meeting Warde.
The defendant's previous convictions were under the Misuse of Drugs Act in 2006 and criminal damage from the same period.
Mr. Garavan said the defendant had a cocktail of cocaine, ecstasy, vodka and beer on the night in question.
His childhood was marred by drink and drugs and he had attempted to take his life.
He was now clean for 18 months and had not come to the attention of the gardaí since.
Judge Hunt said while the letter of apology was welcome paper did not refuse ink.
"I would like to see some other paper in the form of compensation for Mr. McGreal," he said.
He adjourned the case for 12 months but repeated the strict condition that in no way was Mr. Warde to go anywhere he knew Mr. McGreal might be.