A man who took part in a high speed garda chase exposing multiple cars and a pedestrian to “very considerable danger” has been jailed for two and half years.
Thomas Griffin (26) of Croftwood Park, Ballyfermot, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two charges of endangerment on June 17, 2018. He has 46 previous convictions, including convictions for assault causing harm, road traffic and public order offences.
Judge Melanie Greally said the driving, described in an early hearing by Garda Laura Brennan, was “very extreme in nature”.
“Multiple cars and a pedestrian were exposed to very considerable danger,” the judge commented before she added that Griffin was intoxicated with both drugs and alcohol at the time.
She acknowledged that Griffin has since “demonstrated that he has potential” and has “confronted his demons” while on remand in custody before she suspended the final 12 months of a three and half year term.
At an earlier hearing Gda Brennan told Dara Hayes BL, prosecuting, that she was on duty when she was alerted to the fact that another patrol car was in pursuit of a gold Rover. She spotted the vehicle as it travelled up the Naas Road onto the M50 Northbound.
She said the driver failed to stop when indicated to do and appeared to be hiding his face as he passed. He continued to drive at speed forcing oncoming traffic to take evasive action as he overtook other vehicles. She then lost sight of the vehicle as the driver went onto the M50 northbound.
Gda Brennan said a short time later she again saw the same vehicle travelling at speed in the hard shoulder and estimated that the driver was driving at speeds in excess of 140 km/h within a speed limit zone of 100 km/h. She again activated the lights on the patrol car but the driver failed to stop.
The driver then took the Ballymun slip road towards Dublin Airport and Gda Brennan saw it drive through a set of red lights at Naul crossroads, forcing other traffic to take “evasive action”. She noted that at that point the driver was travelling at about 40 km/h above the speed limit.
Gda Brennan said the driver lost control of the car and the skidded across the road into a ditch. He managed to regain control and continued driving at speed in the direction of Finglas, where he overtook three cars on a blind bend.
The driver then went the wrong way around a roundabout causing another vehicle to brake suddenly and swerve to avoid a collision. The driver then turned into a confined residential area again travelling at about 30 km/hr above the speed limit.
Gda Brennan said the driver then mounted a footpath and a pedestrian had to jump out of the way. The driver drove into Barry Park, which is a cul-de-sac, stopped suddenly and he and the passenger then got out.
Griffin was later caught hiding in the driveway of a house behind a parked car. He briefly resisted gardaí but was ultimately arrested.
Ann Sheridan BL, defending, said her client had huge family support with his partner, his sister, his mother and two aunts supporting him in court. She said Griffin’s brother was murdered and as of yet no arrests have been made in the case.
She said Griffin fully accepted his guilt in the situation but cannot explain why he took part in this garda chase. Counsel said since his remand in custody Griffin is drug free and has “re-connected with his family”.