Bike thief who struck RTE man then jumped into canal is jailed
A bike thief who jumped into a canal to evade capture after assaulting retired RTE broadcaster Cathal Mac Coille with a bolt cutter has been jailed for one-and-a-half years.
Father-of-four Gary Gibson (28) had been trying to steal a bike when the owner confronted him and shouted for help.
Mr Mac Coille, who was passing by, intervened and was hit over the head with the bolt cutter.
Gibson, of Upper Dorset Street Flats, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Mr Mac Coille and attempted theft at Phibsboro Road on July 3 last year.
He also pleaded guilty to possessing a Stanley knife at Mountjoy Garda Station on the same date.
Judge Melanie Greally sentenced him to two-and-a-half years imprisonment with the final 12 months suspended.
Gda Aileen Deely told Fiona McGowan, prosecuting, that Gibson ran off when another man got involved, but two gardai who had witnessed the incident chased him.
Gibson ran down to the canal and jumped in to evade capture. He was blocked on the far bank by the two officers.
He spent 10 minutes in the water in a stand-off with gardai before getting out.
Officers searched him and found the Stanley knife and he told them he had this to help him steal a bike.
Gibson said his recollection of the incident was "hazy", but claimed any assaults were a result of him defending himself against people who had intervened.
Ms McGowan said Mr Mac Coille had a lump and bruise on his forehead following the attack and had to take a break from filming a programme about the Pope's visit to Ireland.
The bike owner had to spend €125 on new wheels and a lock.
Gibson's 28 previous convictions include burglary, unauthorised possession of firearms and ammunition and public order matters.
Gda Deely agreed with Luigi Rea, defending, that the blade found on his client had not been used.
Mr Rea told the court Gibson had taken a number of tablets on the day and acted in a "ridiculous way" when he felt he had to take a bicycle.
Judge Greally said Mr Mac Coille intervened in a bid to prevent Gibson from stealing a bike and "for his trouble" he got stuck with a metal object on the forehead.