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Dad and son 'spat on gardai' in drugs stop, court is told

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James Clarke is also charged with breach of the peace

James Clarke is also charged with breach of the peace

James Clarke is also charged with breach of the peace

A father and son have been accused of assaulting two gardai by spitting on them amid public fears over the spread of Covid-19.

Paul Clarke (49) and his son James Clarke (27) allegedly spat at the gardai as they carried out a routine drug search in Dublin city centre yesterday morning.

The incident was recorded by a crowd of onlookers and the footage has already been posted on Facebook, the alleged victims told Dublin District Court.

Judge Miriam Walsh refused both accused bail and remanded them in custody.

The accused, both of Clonard Road, Crumlin, are charged with assaulting Gardai Kate Mulligan and Kevin Carthy.

Fear

James Clarke is also charged with garda obstruction and breach of the peace.

The offences are alleged to have happened at O'Donovan Rossa Bridge, Dublin 8. Objecting to bail in Paul Clarke's case, Gda Mulligan said: "In light of Covid-19, there is already fear in the population."

To spit at the gardai "in this climate more so than ever, it's dangerous", she said.

Defence barrister Sarah Connolly said Paul Clarke was on disability allowance and had medical difficulties.

Gda Carthy said he was dealing with a "simple drug search" with another person when the two co-accused became involved and it "got out of hand".

"They started spitting at us. There were official batons used and pepper spray was used," the garda said. "I was spat at at least twice."

Ms Connolly said Paul Clarke denied spitting at the gardai, but accepted tensions were heightened.

"Everybody's lives have totally changed and there's a new order in place at the moment," Judge Walsh said.

"In relation to Covid-19, spitting on anybody, let alone the gardai trying to carry out their duty, is a very serious offence," Gda Carthy said, objecting to bail for James Clarke.

James Clarke was on disability allowance for severe epilepsy.

Both gardai said they would not be satisfied with bail conditions, such as a requirement to sign on at a garda station.

Paul Clarke wore a blue surgical mask during the hearing.

Judge Walsh remanded both accused in custody, to appear at Cloverhill District Court on March 30.