brush with the law | 

Three Spanish men charged over €10,000 graffiti on Dart carriages at depot during the weekend

The men were arrested during an operation targeting incidents of graffiti and damage to train carriages in Dublin

Pic of graffiti supplied by gardaí

Andrew Phelan

Three Spanish men have been charged over a €10,000 graffiti attack on Dart carriages at a Dublin train depot at the weekend.

Luis Garcia Diaz (29), Francisco Espinosa (26) and Jonay Gallo (24) all appeared in Dublin District Court today charged with causing criminal damage.

They were arrested following an inter-agency operation between gardai and Iarnród Éireann, targeting incidents of graffiti and damage to train carriages on the north Dublin railway line.

Mr Diaz, a factory worker of Calle Juan de Juanes, Mostoles, Madrid; Mr Espinosa, a cleaner with an address at Frederick Street North, Dublin and Mr Gallo, a social media content monitor of Mount Shannon Road, Dublin, were granted bail.

Judge John Brennan remanded them in custody with consent to bail, to appear in Cloverhill District Court on Friday, for the directions of the DPP.

The offences are alleged to have happened at Fairview Dart Depot on Sunday, October 10.

The court heard none of the accused replied to the charges after caution and all prosecuting garda objected to bail.

In Mr Diaz’s case, Garda Richard Ledwidge said the accused was caught “red handed” leaving the scene after being followed by security.

There was CCTV footage of the men committing the alleged offences, which was spray paint damage to four train carriages on tracks outside the depot, costing a total of €10,000.

It happened in “the middle of the day,” at around 2.15pm, he said.

Mr Diaz had flown into Ireland on Saturday and it had been his intention to catch a flight to return to Spain today.

He had no address in this jurisdiction and Gda Ledwidge believed if granted bail, Mr Diaz would evade justice and not return. He had no connection to Ireland.

Applying for bail, defence solicitor Andrew Broderick said Mr Diaz came to Ireland to visit friends and they may view graffiti as “a past-time, a form of artistic design.”

Gda Ledwidge said this may be, but in Ireland it was criminal damage.

The accused and his friends would sometimes spray walls and saw it as a form of artistic expression, Mr Broderick said.

“It was something unfortunate and perhaps foolish on their part,” Mr Broderick said.

Mr Diaz had cash for bail and was willing to stay here to face the charges.

Judge Brennan noted the surrounding circumstances were “somewhat unusual” and that they were allegedly “essentially engaging in a hobby".

“That sort of hobby in this state is a very serious criminal charge,” he said.

Mr Espinosa had only been here for five months and Garda Austin Kelly said he feared this accused would also return to Spain if bailed.

Garda Ke Sheng had similar bail objections in Mr Gallo’s case.

Mr Broderick said Mr Gallo had lived in Ireland for a number of years and worked for a recruitment company, monitoring social media content. He had a stable job with reasonable ties to Ireland.

Gda Sheng said Mr Gallo could work remotely anywhere with a laptop.

Judge Brennan said the accused were all presumed innocent and granted bail.

Mr Diaz’s bail was set in his own cash bond of €1,000, with the two co-accused’s bail at €500 each, with €300 cash lodgements. They are to surrender their passports and ID cards to gardai, sign on at a garda station three times per week and be contactable by mobile phone. Mr Diaz is to provide gardai with an address in Ireland and they are all to give notification of any change of address.

Mr Gallo must also stay out of all Dart and train stations.

Gardai said as part of the operation, they conducted patrols of rail lines over the weekend in an effort to target groups involved in graffiti and criminal damage to trains.

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