Embassy gate-crasher opts for Circuit Court jury trial

Desmond Wisley (49) was arrested after his firm's lorry reversed and crashed through the gates of the Russian Embassy at Orwell Road on March 7th
Embassy gate-crasher opts for Circuit Court jury trial

Tom Tuite

A church supplier charged with ramming the Russian Embassy gates in Dublin intends to plead not guilty and opt for a trial before a Circuit Court judge and jury.

Desmond Wisley (49) was arrested after his firm's lorry reversed and crashed through the gates of the building at Orwell Road, Rathgar, on the city's south side at around 1.30pm on March 7th.

Afterwards, he told protesters he saw pictures of a family killed in Irpin, Ukraine, following the Russian invasion. Clips of the incident went viral online and in the media.

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

Gardaí charged the businessman with dangerous driving at the embassy and criminal damage to the gates.

The following day, he was granted €300 bail after agreeing to obey a list of strict conditions sought by Garda Aishling Conroy.

The case was back before Judge Patricia McNamara at Tallaght District Court on Tuesday. It was listed for directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to be given.

In April, the court heard: "There has been a bit of a difficulty with regards to valuing the damage."

Mr Wisley did not have to appear but was represented on Tuesday by his solicitor Gerry Kilraine.

Circuit Court trial

Mr Kilraine told the court the DPP had indicated that the matter could be disposed of in the district court, but only if his client pleaded guilty. Otherwise, it would go forward on indictment which has broader sentencing powers.

Mr Kilraine added: "The plea is not guilty, so it will be in the Circuit Court".

He asked Judge McNamara to adjourn the matter until September for the State to complete the book of evidence for the trial.

Judge McNamara said she had not yet received the DPP’s direction. However, the defence solicitor said it had been communicated to his office.

Judge McNamara noted that but told Mr Kilraine the directions needed to be formally given to the court, and unfortunately, there was no one acting on behalf of the State.

She adjourned the case for mention until July 1st.

Judge McNamara remanded Mr Wisley on continuing bail in his absence.

His bail terms state he must stay away from Orwell Road, Dublin 14, and Ailesbury Road, in Dublin 4; refrain from posting on social media about his court case, and not contact any of the embassy's staff.

At his first hearing on March 8th, Garda Conroy told the court Mr Wisley "made no reply to either charge".

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

Protective barriers were later placed outside the embassy.

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