A 21-year-old man fired shots from a pellet gun at a garda striking his arm and as he drove off he again fired at gardaí before eventually crashing through a toll booth barrier at Watergrasshill.
These were the allegations against Tommy Mannah, who had been living at Military Road, Cork, as he was was refused bail today by Judge Olann Kelleher at Cork District Court.
Detective Sergeant Kieran O’Sullivan objected to bail being granted to the accused because of the seriousness of the charges and concerns about the welfare of the accused himself and members of the public if he was released on bail.
The four charges against the accused carry substantial maximum jail sentences on conviction, up to life imprisonment.
Det. Sgt. O’Sullivan said gardaí received a call at 11.30 p.m. on Friday night, July 3 about a man breaking into a car and being in possession of a firearm.
“Gardaí attended at the scene. Tommy Mannah returned with an alleged handgun which he discharged in the direction of gardaí hitting one member in the arm. He then got into the car and drove from the scene.
“He was signalled to stop and he failed. He discharged shot out the window of the car. He crashed through a barrier at the toll plaza.
“A stinger (device to puncture and disable a car) was placed on the motorway. Armed support unit members approached and identified themselves as armed gardaí. It is alleged that he discharged shots at the arm gardaí.
“A Tazer was discharged and he was successfully arrested. This was observed by a number of witnesses from gardaí at Military Road to the M8 motorway. Gardaí never lost sight of him during this.
“Given the matters before the court it is my belief (that he would commit further offences) It is my belief he is also using drugs at the moment.
“He was staying at an Air B&B at Military Road but he has no address now.
“Due to the seriousness of the charges he would be a danger to himself and also to members of the public at large and go on to commit further offences,” Det. Sgt. O’Sullivan testified.
Eddie Burke, solicitor, cross-examined the witness stating that the defendant’s mother, Marianne, was willing to have her son living with her in Mallow and that the only reason he did not have the Military Road address available was because the lease was up since Sunday.
Mr Burke said a series of events occurred as a result of a dispute the defendant had with his partner in their apartment and that the car he took belonged to her and it was not a case of taking a car belonging to a random person.
Mr Burke said that while not minimising the incidents the firearm referred to was an imitation and was actually a pellet gun which shot “small little white balls.” Det. Sgt. O’Sullivan said the defendant’s partner was struck in the eye and a garda was hit in the arm.
Mr Burke said the accused was attending a doctor and taking anti-psychotic drugs. “There is a background that he seems to be trying to deal with. He is from Sierra Leone – in Ireland since the age of three,” Mr Burke said.
Judge Kelleher was told that the defendant is 21 and his partner is 44.
Mr Burke asked the detective would he accept that bail could be granted on strict conditions. Det. Sgt. O’Sullivan did not agree with this proposition and said, “I don’t think he has grasped the seriousness of this. I don’t think he knows how serious this could have been. He has not given an explanation of how it escalated. If left out, we would have concerns about the interests of the defendant himself and the public at large.” In refusing bail the judge noted, “It is alleged firearms were discharged.” The accused was remanded in custody for one week.
Mannah is charged with two firearm offences including one that he had a firearm or imitation firearm with him when he unlawfully used a car at Military Road and another that he used a firearm or imitation firearm for the purpose of resisting arrest by a member of An Garda Siochana on the M8 Northbound at Ballinahina, Rathcormac.
He is charged with endangerment by driving a black VW Golf, and colliding with a barrier and creating substantial risk of death or serious harm to at the toll plaza and taking the car without the consent of the owner at Military Road.