Man charged over Russian embassy gates crash released on bail

Gardaí arrested Desmond Wisley (49) after his firm’s lorry reversed and crashed through the gates of the building at Orwell Road
Man charged over Russian embassy gates crash released on bail

Tom Tuite

A church supplier charged with criminal damage and dangerous driving after his truck rammed the Russian embassy gates in Dublin has been released on bail.

Gardaí arrested Desmond Wisley (49) after his firm’s lorry reversed and crashed through the gates of the building at Orwell Road, Rathgar, in the city’s south side at around 1.30pm on Monday.

He told protesters he saw pictures of a family killed in Irpin, Ukraine, before being arrested. Clips of the incident went viral online and led to prominent national and international news media coverage.

The accused of Tully, Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, sells religious products, including wine, bread, altar cloths, banners, candles and vestments.

The businessman was detained at Rathfarnham Garda station for questioning. He was charged on Monday evening with dangerous driving at the embassy and criminal damage to its gates.

Court appearance

Mr Wisley was brought to appear before Judge Patricia McNamara at Tallaght District Court on Tuesday morning.

Garda Aishling Conroy told the court Mr Wisley "made no reply to either charge". The officer did not object to bail or seek a surety, subject to the court ordering him to obey conditions.

Standing with his hands clasped in front of him, Mr Wisley spoke at the start of the hearing to confirm his name. He interacted again during the proceedings to confirm he understood each outlined bail term.

He did not have a lawyer and said "okay" to indicate he understood when the judge told him he could be entitled to free legal aid depending on his financial circumstances. However, he did not apply for legal aid.

The garda asked the court to order him to stay away from Orwell Road, Dublin 14, and Ailesbury Road, in Dublin 4. The judge asked if he objected to those terms, and he replied: "No, your honour".

Custody

The judge warned Mr Wisley risked being held in custody if he broke any conditions. Again, she asked if he wished to consult a solicitor, to which he replied: "No, thank you." The judge noted he fully understood, which he confirmed, responding: "Correct."

The judge noted from the garda that she was satisfied that Mr Wisley would turn up to court.

Judge McNamara set in his bond of €300, but he did not have to lodge cash.

Following a request from the arresting officer, the judge told him he must "refrain from posting on social media anything to do with this case".

Lastly, he was told he must not directly or indirectly contact any of the embassy's staff. “Yes, I agree to that,” Mr Wisley said.

In relation to the no-contact condition, Judge McNamara informed him that included another person who could be traced back to him. Once again, she asked him if he understood, and he answered: "I do, yes".

Judge McNamara was told that the garda must obtain directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

She ordered Mr Wisley, who has not yet indicated how he will plead, to appear again on April 26th.

After the hearing, the businessman gave a statement to reporters in which he thanked gardaí for their professionalism before he condemned the Russian government and its president Vladimir Putin.

Protective barriers have since been placed outside the embassy, acting as a buffer between it and demonstrators protesting against the Russian Federation's invasion of Ukraine.

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