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'Escapade' Man jailed for high speed garda chase in Wicklow as pal threw hedge clippers out window

Joseph Bonass (19) drove the stolen car dangerously during the pursuit on a motorway while his co-accused Jordan Carroll (21) threw gardening equipment such as a leaf blower and hedge clippers out the car window.

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Joseph Bonass pictured leaving the Criminal Courts of Justice. Photo: Collins Courts

Joseph Bonass pictured leaving the Criminal Courts of Justice. Photo: Collins Courts

Joseph Bonass pictured leaving the Criminal Courts of Justice. Photo: Collins Courts

A man who drove a car stolen from Arklow during a high-speed pursuit which ended with him crashing into two garda patrol cars has been jailed for two years.

Joseph Bonass (19) drove the stolen car dangerously during the pursuit on a motorway while his co-accused Jordan Carroll (21) threw gardening equipment such as a leaf blower and hedge clippers out the car window.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that during the chase the stolen car was observed driving down the middle of a dual carriageway and mounting a grass verge while trying to take an exit.

Bonass of Lindisfarne Park, Clondalkin, pleaded guilty to unauthorised taking of a motor vehicle, criminal damage, dangerous driving, driving without insurance and without a licence at various locations in Co Wicklow and Co Dublin on June 16 and 17, 2020. He has no previous convictions.

Carroll of Lindisfarne Vale, Clondalkin, pleaded guilty to endangering traffic, criminal damage and allowing himself to be carried in a stolen vehicle at various locations in Co Wicklow and Co Dublin on the same dates.

He has 34 previous convictions, including convictions for assault causing harm, assault, criminal damage, dangerous driving, trespass and theft.

At a previous sentencing hearing in April 2021, Judge Elma Sheahan sentenced Carroll to four and a half years imprisonment, but suspended the final 12 months of the sentence on strict conditions.

Judge Sheahan said “this escapade” of Carroll and Bonass was behaviour “that places the lives of our first responders at risk”.

Passing sentence on Monday, Judge Sheahan said the fact that no one was injured during the incident was “pure luck”.

The judge said she had adjourned sentencing Bonass to allow him to engage with the Probation Service, so it came “with great surprise” when she found out he had failed to engage when offered a chance do to so.

She said notwithstanding his failure to engage “in any meaningful sense”, the court had to hold out hope Bonass would consider the need for rehabilitation while in custody.

Judge Sheahan sentenced Bonass to three and a half years imprisonment, but suspended the final 18 months of the sentence on strict conditions, including that he attend all appointments with the Probation Service for two years post release.

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At a previous sentencing hearing, Garda Colm Ryan told James Kelly BL, prosecuting, that shortly before midnight on June 16, a Toyota Land Cruiser was stolen from in front of a house just outside Arklow, Co Wicklow.

Gda Ryan said the keys had been left in the ignition by the owner of the car. The owner has a landscaping business and his tools were contained within the car which he used for work.

Gardaí pursued the car which was being driven by Bonass and observed it driving at speed in a dangerous manner on the N11 northbound. The car was also observed driving in the middle of the dual carriageway.

The pursuit continued onto the M11 while Carroll began throwing gardening equipment out of the front passenger window. This equipment included a leaf blower, hedge clippers and drills.

The incident came to an end when the stolen car mounted a grass verge while attempting to take an exit on the N7. The car then drove the wrong way back towards the pursuing gardaí and crashed into two garda patrol cars.

Both garda patrol cars sustained damage, as did another garda car which ran over a leaf blower, while the stolen car was written off. All of the victim's tools were also destroyed.

Gda Ryan agreed with Donal Pattison BL, defending Bonass, that his client was intoxicated upon his arrest.

Mr Pattison said his client left school without completing the Junior Cert and had been involved with Youthreach prior to the pandemic. He said his client has potential and has family support.

Gda Ryan agreed with John Griffin BL, defending Carroll, that his client was also under the influence of an intoxicant when arrested and later told gardai he had taken “loads” of tablets. He agreed that no gardaí were injured during the offending.

Mr Griffin said his client has issues with drug misuse which is very clearly “the root cause” of this offending. He said his client's parents died when he was a teenager and he was effectively raised by his older sister.

Counsel said his client had asked him to apologise to the gardaí and to the owner of the stolen car. He said his client has one child with his long-term partner.

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