Men cleared of assaulting garda left hanging out of car’s window as it reversed



Two men have been cleared of assaulting a garda as the officer hung out of the passenger window of the vehicle while it reversed at speed.

arda Conor Murray had said driver Jonathan Coelho (29) and passenger Federico Carvalho (31) repeatedly hit him as he struggled to stop himself being thrown out of the car.

The jury took 18 minutes to return the unanimous not guilty verdict on day five of the trial yesterday.

Coelho, of Duleek, Co Meath, and Mr Carvalho, of Blessington Street, Dublin, had denied causing harm to Gda Murray on July 31, 2019, at St Lukes’ Avenue, Dublin 8.

Coelho was acquitted of an accusation he had denied of endangerment by dragging Gda Murray in through the passenger window.

He pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving.

He admitted driving at speed through red lights and in the wrong direction along busy streets before crashing into a lamppost.

After the jury delivered its verdicts Judge Melanie Greally told Mr Carvalho he was “free to go”.

Keith Spencer, defending Coelho, said his client had been in custody since the date of the offence in July last year after bail was refused as he was considered “a flight risk”.

He asked for an early sentence date on the dangerous driving charges his client had admitted at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Judge Greally adjourned the case to Friday for sentence and remanded Coelho in custody.

She acknowledged he has now spent over a year in custody.

During the trial the jury had heard the car was stopped at red lights when a Garda car flashed its lights.

The car then broke the red lights and during a high-speed chase drove dangerously around the city streets before crashing into a lamppost.

In interview Coelho said he did not stop the car for gardaí as he had no insurance.

Gda Murray said he was pulling the passenger from the car when the driver started the car again and began reversing.

He said he had to run along the side of the car to prevent being dragged under it.

Handbrake

“The passenger and driver pulled me half way in to the vehicle,” he said. His upper body was inside the car and the passenger put his head in a head lock, Gda Murray said.

Gda Murray told the jury that while hanging half-way out of the moving car, he managed to pull up the handbrake and slow the vehicle.

Gda Murray said the driver repeatedly kicked him.

He said the driver gave him a final kick, hit his face and he was thrown from the car.

In interview Mr Carvalho, who had been getting a lift home, said that he repeatedly told the driver to stop the car. He said he was terrified and was holding on.

He said the garda was struggling with the driver. He denied hitting the garda and said he would never hurt anybody.

Mr Spencer, defending Coelho, said it was not possible his client could have taken his foot from the clutch and executed a sideways kick to Gda Murray’s face while keeping the other foot on the accelerator.

He said his client’s stated intention was to flee and it made no sense he would pull a garda into the car.

Oisín Clarke, defending Mr Carvalho, said his client thought he was getting a lift home with Coelho and had been “an innocent participant in something that had gone horribly wrong”.

Herald



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