herald

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Dad threw garda against wall in failed escape bid

BERSERK: Drinker jailed for seven months

A PRISONER at a garda station who went berserk and threw an officer against the wall as he tried to escape has been jailed for seven months.

Sergej Sokolov (38) injured the officer's shoulder, putting him out of work for nearly three weeks, in his attempt to escape from custody at Pearse Street Garda Station.

He had denied a charge of assault causing harm to Garda Brian Canavan, his defence arguing his arrest on suspicion of public order offences had been unlawful and he was entitled to try to escape.



Searched

Sokolov, a father-of-one with an address at North Circular Road, Dublin 7 attacked the garda as he was being searched and brought to a cell in an incident on May 13 last year.

Sentencing him, Judge Victor Blake said he had shown no remorse for what was a violent assault.

Dublin District Court heard the accused had been arrested in the Grafton Street area after a garda saw him swigging from an open container of alcohol in the middle of the day.

She arrested him and brought him to Pearse Street Station, where Garda Canavan carried out a search.

As he was being brought to the cells, he struggled and tried to break his way through into the public area of the station.

He picked Garda Canavan up and threw him against the doors and wall, injuring his right arm and shoulder.

Sokolov was eventually restrained and returned to his cell.

A medical report on the garda's injuries was presented to the court. His injuries were not long-term.

Sokolov's barrister argued that the initial arrest was unlawful because the garda had given no evidence that Sokolov was so drunk he was a danger to himself and others.

He pointed out the evidence was that he was initially co-operative and was not verbally abusive or aggressive to the arresting garda.

The State Solicitor said the garda had arrested the accused as a safety measure.

"His constitutional right to due process and his civil liberties were being breached, he had been arrested unlawfully and he was entitled to resist," defence barrister Keith Spencer said.

Judge Blake refused Mr Spencer's application to dismiss and the defendant declined to give evidence.

Sokolov had 36 previous convictions for offences including assault, public order breaches and violent behaviour in a garda station.

"This man committed a violent assault on Garda Brian Canavan in the course of his duties," Judge Blake said.

"He has shown no remorse whatsoever. It is absolutely appalling to assault any member of the gardai in the course of their duties."

hnews@herald.ie

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