Man (23) who pulled open fence gets 4 months prison

By Brendan Grehan

A man who pulled open a fence which a car then hit has been jailed for four months by Blanchardstown District Court.

Judge David McHugh said Karl Smith had engaged in “absolute thuggery”.

blanchardstown courthouse

Blanchardstown District Court

Smith, aged 23, with an address at Croftwood Drive, Ballyfermot, pleaded not guilty to damaging a car, and endangerment by opening a fence at Station Road, Clondalkin, on December 9, 2017.

Garda Denis Lordan from Ronanstown Garda Station told the court that on the above date, he responded to a call that five stray horses were loose on Station Road in Clondalkin.


Arriving at the scene, he said the horses were on the road and on a green space and were a danger to the public.

There was a construction site on one side of the road and Garda Lordan said he asked a security guard if he could lead the horses into the site to get them off the road.

Garda Lordan said the security guard opened up the fence and the horses were led in. He said he saw there was a youth hanging around. He identified Smith who he said was wearing a blue jacket and grey sweat pants. Garda Lordan said Smith was known to him and added that Smith had a “distinctive voice”.

Garda Lordan said he then responded to a panic-attack call at Liffey Valley Shopping Centre. The panic-attack call turned out to be false and when he returned to Station Road, Garda Lordan said he found the fence had been opened up and the stray horses were loose on the road. He said the fence was in the middle of the road and an Audi car was parked beside it.

Garda Lordan said he observed Smith leading a horse on the road. He said he followed Smith down Cherry Orchard Avenue. Garda Lordan said Smith later abandoned the horse and ran into his house. He said it was not appropriate at the time to arrest Smith, but he later arrested Smith on June 20, 2018.

A security guard told the court that he had been looking after the construction site. He said a Garda asked him to open the fence so that they could store the horses.

He said the horses were on the road and he helped the garda secure the horses.

The security guard said that “a tall chap later came down and broke open the fence”.

He told the court that he could not identify the man who broke open the fence.

He said the man was “kind of tall and was wearing a blue jacket”.

Trevor Adair said that he and his wife and children had left their estate and were driving on Station Road as they were going to Liffey Valley to do some shopping. He said there were a group of youths running down the road with a number of stray horses. Mr Adair said he had to swerve to avoid a child and he hit a fence which was lying across the road.

Mr Adair said the fence was about “six foot high” and added that the front passenger side of his car was damaged. He said he made a statement to Garda Lordan and later contacted his insurance company.

Breeda Adair said she was with her husband and children when the incident happened. She said there were three youths on the road.

Smith’s counsel, Jennifer Jackson Bl, asked Judge McHugh for a direction on the grounds that Smith had not been identified.

Solicitor for the DPP, Mairead White, said Garda Lordan had given evidence that Smith was known to him and had “a distinctive voice”.

Judge McHugh ruled that Smith had a case to answer.

Ms Jackson said her client was not going into evidence and added that her client’s pleas stood.

Judge McHugh found Smith guilty. He said he was satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Smith had opened up the fence and caused a dangerous obstruction on the road.

The court heard that Smith has 23 previous convictions.

At Blanchardstown District Court on September 18, 2017, he had been placed on a 12-month peace bond for obstructing a drugs search.

Ms Jackson said her client is currently doing a CE scheme and is doing well.

Ms White told Judge McHugh that Mr Adair had not been compensated by his insurance company for the damage to his car.

Judge McHugh said he was satisified that Smith “had engaged in an act of absolute thuggery”.

He sentenced Smith to four months jail.

Judge McHugh told the court garda: “Take him down.”

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