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'Anglo Avenger' walks free over lorry protest

A PROPERTY developer has been found not guilty of criminal damage and dangerous driving charges after an incident in which a concrete mixer truck was driven at the gates of Leinster House.

The lorry, which had the words "Toxic Bank" and "Anglo" painted in red on its sides, caused €35 of minor damage.

Joe McNamara (41), of Dun na Carraige, Blackrock, Co Galway, who owed Anglo Irish Bank €7.5m, was charged at Dublin District Court.

The court heard Mr McNamara, dubbed 'the Anglo Avenger', was exercising his rights to express opinions and he denied dangerous driving, criminal damage, not having a certificate of road worthiness, and failing to produce a driving licence.

Garda Thomas O'Malley told Judge Ann Watkin he was on duty on September 29 last when a cement mixer came onto Kildare Street.



Brakes

Mr McNamara "collided with the gates of Leinster House" and then climbed through a sun roof on top of the truck.

Garda O'Malley said he feared that the defendant would start pouring cement at the entrance to the building.

When he was brought down, he told the garda the brakes had been cut and "we were unable to move the truck."

Mr McNamara told gardai that he tried to stop the truck but it "coasted for a split second and hit it."

The court heard that at the time he owed Anglo Irish Bank €7.5m and was "p***ed off."

A mechanic said the truck's brake lines had been cut and the vehicle would not have been able to travel far as a result.

The defence submitted that Mr McNamara had run a chain from the truck's drum to the brake pipes which caused them to be severed.

Dismissing the criminal damage and dangerous driving charges, Judge Watkin said that she had a doubt as to when the vehicle had been rendered defective. She also cleared him of the remaining charges.

Afterwards, Mr McNamara said: "Since day dot this was not about publicity, it was to make a protest. That is it."

hnews@herald.ie