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Dublin delivery man drove on with garda's arm trapped in car

CourtsBy Sunday World
Danilo Rodriguez
Danilo Rodriguez

A delivery man who drove his van for over 50 metres while a garda's arm was trapped in the driver's window has received a suspended sentence.

Danilo Rodriguez (44) of Kimmage Grove, Kimmage, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Garda Niall Mulvaney at Westmoreland Street, Dublin on June 10, 2015.

The assault took place shortly after Gda Mulvaney, who was on traffic duty, directed Rodriguez to leave a bus lane. Rodriguez was unhappy with his interaction with the garda and drove back to get his garda ID number.

Garda Sergeant Anthony Collins told the court that Rodriguez stopped in the middle of traffic and Gda Mulvaney approached him to tell him to take his details and told him to turn off his engine.

Rodriguez ignored this direction and Gda Mulvaney formed the opinion that he was going to drive away. He reached in through the driver window to turn the engine off at the same time that Rodriguez went to close the electric window.

The garda's arm was trapped in the car and Rodriguez put the car into gear and drove 51 metres before stopping the car. The victim was pulled along and forced to run backwards with the car travelling at around 30 km/hr.

Sgt Collins told the injured garda suffered nerve damage and tendinitis, which was still causing him some pain. He was out of work for nine months.

He told Joe Barnes BL, prosecuting, that Gda Mulvaney was aware that a driving ban would deprive him of his livelihood and the victim didn't want this.

Mr Barnes said that it was at the discretion of the court. He said that the Director of Public Prosecutions was withdrawing a charge of dangerous driving because it came with a mandatory driving ban.

After suspending a two-year prison sentence, Judge Martin Nolan said he was very impressed with the attitude taken by Sgt Collins and Gda Mulvaney towards Rodriguez. He said they had dealt with him in a very fair manner and that the injured garda had shown good ill and no ill will towards Rodriguez.

He said that the proverbial red mist had descended on Rodriguez on the day and he behaved in a reprehensible manner.

He said Rodriguez was a very hard working man. He noted his early guilty plea and his sincere expressions of remorse.

Eoin Lawlor BL, defending, said that his client was born in Nicaragua and in his teenage years he was forced to take up arms against the Contras, a U.S. backed and funded right-wing rebel group fighting the socialist government there.

He came to Ireland in 1991 and learned English and had worked many jobs since then to support his family, counsel said. After he lost a good job during the economic downturn he set himself up as a fruit and veg delivery man.

Declan Brennan