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Sentencing adjourned in Kildare dangerous driving case


A garda suffered serious head injuries after being dragged around 40 metres along a road after a motorist resisted having his car seized, a court has heard.

George Richard Asimionesei, 23, pleaded guilty at a sitting of Naas Circuit Criminal Court to a charge of dangerous driving and endangerment as a result of an incident at Barberstown, Co Kildare on 22 August, 2022.

The court heard that Asimionesei, a single man of Barrack Court, Rathcoole, Co Dublin, who was also charged with driving without insurance and having no driving licence, had been disqualified from driving at the time of the offence.

Sergeant Philip Taylor told the court that the injured garda, Gerard Kennedy, subsequently resigned from the force last October, although “not solely on medical grounds”.

Sgt Taylor said the victim had been on a routine patrol in Celbridge on the evening of the incident when he noticed a red BMW coupé with two occupants driving at high speed through the town.

He said Garda Kennedy formed the view that the UK-registered vehicle was trying to evade gardaí after he attempted to follow it in his patrol car.

The BMW eventually stopped at Barberstown outside Straffan, Co Kildare after Garda Kennedy activated his vehicle’s blue lights.

The court heard that Asimionesei was hesitant in providing his name to gardaí which made them more suspicious, and he was unable to produce a driving licence.

Sgt Taylor said the accused had begged gardaí not to take his vehicle off him.

However, he said Asimionesei revved the car’s engine and took off “at speed” as Garda Kennedy put his hand in the driver’s window to take his key.

A victim impact statement provided by Garda Kennedy was not read out in court.

However, counsel for the DPP, Daniel Boland BL said the victim had said he would never forget the fear he felt as the vehicle took off.

The court heard he suffered concussion after falling back onto the road from the moving vehicle and required 15 staples to be inserted on a wound to his head.

A taxi driver who witnessed the incident, Gerard McCabe said he saw a car shoot out from between two Garda vehicles “with a body sticking out the driver’s side window”.

“He was dragged for so long that I thought he was dead,” said Mr McCabe.

The witness said he suffered shock and could not sleep following the incident which included seeing blood coming out of the victim’s head after he fell back on the ground.

Sgt Taylor said a cordon was placed around the Straffan area after the occupants fled the vehicle after it crashed a short distance away.

However, Asimionesei was arrested in the village the following morning after being reported by a witness.

Sgt Taylor said the accused told gardaí that he had not been driving the vehicle “at any time”.

However, he said a thumbprint found on the driver’s wheel was found to belong to Asimionesei following forensic examination, while his phone was also discovered in the vehicle.

The court heard that Asimionesei, the youngest of four children whose family come originally from Romania, has 22 previous convictions, mostly for theft and road traffic offences.

He had also “gone missing” while on bail for over five months before presenting himself to gardaí in February 2023.

Cross-examined by counsel for the accused, Aisling Murphy BL, Sgt Taylor agreed her client’s actions were “reckless but fuelled by panic”.

Ms Murphy said Asimionesei had brought €2,000 to court for his victim which represented “all that he has to his name”.

She claimed the accused had admitted he had a period of reckless behaviour following his mother’s death in 2020.

The court heard that he had attended schools in Celbridge and Leixlip and had worked as a retail assistant and in a warehouse prior to his arrest.

Ms Murphy said Asimionesei had travelled to Northern Ireland shortly before the incident where he had purchased the BMW for €9,000.

She said he had experienced “utter panic and a rush of blood to the head” when gardaí tried to seize the car.

The barrister said she had several testimonies from the accused’s family and friends which testified that he cared for his family and was “honest, reliable and caring”.

Ms Murphy said Asimionesei accepted responsibility for his actions, was remorseful and had issued a genuine apology to his victim.

The court heard that the accused had written personally to the judge in which he stated that the incident represented “the biggest mistake of my life” which he would always regret.

Judge Martina Baxter adjourned sentencing until Friday to allow time to consider a probation report on Asimionesei.


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