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'moment of madness' Man took hammer from the car and broke clamp off wheel on first day back to work


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Rafael Gorka, of St James, Hollybrook, Dublin 3, charged with criminal damage

Rafael Gorka, of St James, Hollybrook, Dublin 3, charged with criminal damage

Rafael Gorka, of St James, Hollybrook, Dublin 3, charged with criminal damage

A MAN took a hammer out of his parked vehicle and smashed a clamp off the wheel in a "moment of madness".

Rafael Gorka (38) got clamped on his first day back at work during the pandemic, was under "great financial pressure" and broke it off so he could get to a job.

Adjourning the case, Judge Treasa Kelly told him she would leave him without a criminal record if he paid €120 compensation.

Gorka, of St James, Hollybrook, Dublin 3, pleaded guilty to criminal damage to the clamp at St Mary's Community Centre, Richmond Hill, Rathmines.

Dublin District Court heard that gardaí received a complaint from Euro Car Parks last April 21.

A clamper had clamped the accused's vehicle and there was an "exchange of words", a garda sergeant said.

Gorka took a hammer from the boot of his vehicle and smashed the clamp off.

The accused made full admissions when questioned by gardaí and was very apologetic.

Gorka had been living in Ireland for 10 years and the incident happened on his first day back at work after being out of a job due to the pandemic, his solicitor Claire Finnegan said.

He was "under great financial pressure" at the time and acted out of fear of having to find the money for the clamp; he did not have it and needed to get back to work.

He "accepted it wasn't the correct way to behave" and it was a "moment of madness and panic", Ms Finnegan said.

He was prepared to pay for the damage but would need time to get the money together, she said.

Judge Kelly said clampers had a difficult job to do and told the accused he had to have respect for them.

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"Sometimes it's hard and you can get annoyed but they have a job to do," the judge said.

She adjourned the case and said she would apply the Probation Act if he paid €120 in compensation. Otherwise, she said she would fine him €150.

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