Accused man jumps out of dock and tries to throw glass of water at judge

Circuit Criminal Court Judge Judge Patrick McCartan
Circuit Criminal Court Judge Judge Patrick McCartan

A man who was due to be sentenced for being a passenger in a stolen car jumped out of the dock and tried to throw a glass of water at the judge.

Leon Murphy (20) was before Judge Patrick McCartan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court when he took issue over a comment the judge made about his mother.

Murphy of Snowdrop Walk, Darndale, Dublin pleaded guilty to allowing himself to be carried in a stolen car on the Malahide Road on May 18, 2015. He has 89 previous convictions, 40 of which were for road traffic offences.

The evidence had been heard and Judge McCartan was enquiring as to Murphy's prospects for the future when he was advised by Peter Jackson BL, defending, that the man's mother, a reformed heroin addict, wished to help her son.

The woman was pointed out to the judge who then commented that he had seen her in the court earlier in the day and she had seemed “all over the place”. He asked Mr Jackson to confirm that the woman had dealt with her addiction.

Murphy became irate and started to shout abuse at the judge.

His mother said, from the body of the court, that the judge was implying that she had been on drugs when she came into court earlier. She said she hadn't been and said she had letters from a counsellor to prove that she has addressed her addiction.

Murphy again became irate before his mother shouted up at the judge; “You're after upsetting the child. He is after taking from what you said that I was on drugs”.

Murphy then jumped up out of the dock and grabbed a glass of water that had been sitting on a bench in front of the judge. He went to throw the glass before prison officers, a court garda and the judge's tip staff jumped in and prevented him from throwing it.

He was escorted out of court by prison officers and guards who were struggling to restrain him, while he continued to threaten and shout abuse at Judge McCartan.

“You made a great job of that didn't you?” Ms Murphy shouted up at the judge.

She continued to shout and say that she wanted the judge to make it clear to her son that she had not been on drugs.

Judge McCartan adjourned the case back to another court for sentence before a different judge. He said it wouldn't be fair on Murphy for him to continue with the case “because of his attitude shown towards him”.

 He later addressed prison officers and said because everything happened so quickly he didn't actually see who had come to his aid.

“All I saw was a glass coming in my direction. Thank you very much for the speed at which you came to my assistance. If it wasn't you, please convey my appreciation to your colleagues”, Judge McCartan said before he apologised to the court for “any part I may have played” in what had happened.  

- Sonya McLean