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Jason Hennessy cleared of writing ‘rat’ on book of condolences for Garda Colm Horkan

Jason Hennessy Jnr

Eimear CotterSunday World

A tow truck worker has been cleared of writing "rat" in a book of condolences for the late Garda, Detective Colm Horkan, claiming that gardaí are out to get him.

Jason Hennessy (26) says he is dyslexic and cannot read, and was insistent he did not damage the condolences book for Gda Horkan, who died in a shooting incident in Castlerea, Co Roscommon in June 2020.

A Garda witness had alleged that Mr Hennessy claimed "pure boredom" for his behaviour.

However, Mr Hennessy claimed gardaí in Blanchardstown were "out to get me" and "they're biased against me".

Judge John Brennan said the allegation was "an odious offence" and the "lowest of the low". He also said Gda Horkan was a distinguished Garda who had served the State and its people.

However, the burden of proof in a criminal case was very high, Judge Brennan said, and when he had doubts they must be given to the defendant.

The judge found Mr Hennessy not guilty and struck out the charge.

Mr Hennessy, of Sheephill Avenue in Blanchardstown, had denied a charge of criminal damage at Blanchardstown Garda Station on Friday, June 19, 2020.

Detective Sergeant Alan Lynch told Blanchardstown District Court he was in Blanchardstown station around 12.15pm when he saw two males in the public office near a book of condolences for Gda Horkan, which he had put on the counter a couple of hours earlier.

Sgt Lynch said the men were laughing and sniggering, and when he went out to the public office he saw "rat" had been written in the book.

Sgt Lynch said Mr Hennessy was later interviewed but he refused to speak, rather he "smirked and laughed".

Sgt Lynch alleged that when the interview was over Hennessy turned to him and admitted: "It's all been blown out of proportion. It was pure boredom. Lots of things has been written in that section. There's no point in crying over spilt milk".

Sgt Lynch said there was CCTV footage of the incident. He accepted that it did not show Mr Hennessy writing in the book, though it showed him standing beside it.

In his evidence, Mr Hennessy denied making any admissions to Sgt Lynch, saying he never spoke to him.

Mr Hennessy accepted he looked at the book of condolences because he's "nosy" but said he was dyslexic, cannot read, and all he saw was shapes, not words.

"If I did something wrong I'd admit it", Mr Hennessy said.

Judge Brennan struck out the charge.

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