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Friday 20 September 2019

Ex-rugby star 'with authority issues' went on crazed city centre rampage

Ronen Tollman began taking drugs on leaving the Israeli army
Ronen Tollman began taking drugs on leaving the Israeli army

A former international rugby player and Israeli soldier who had "issues with authority" wrapped his belt around his fist and threatened gardai in a confrontation in a Dublin park.

Ronen Tollman (31) also shouted threats at passers-by while wielding a pair of scissors, and spat on an arresting garda in a series of other drunken episodes in the city centre.

Judge John O'Leary adjourned his case for the production of a psychiatric report when he appeared in Dublin District Court.

Tollman, from Gurteenroe Place, Millstreet Road, Macroom, Co Cork, pleaded guilty to assaulting a garda, obstruction, threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour, public intoxication and theft.

Resistance

The court heard gardai were called to St Stephen's Green at 6.45pm on August 23 last, when it was reported a man was threatening people in the park.

They found Tollman intoxicated and shouting abuse at park users.

When approached, he took the belt from his trousers, wrapped it around his fist and threatened gardai.

He fled, was caught after a short chase and "put up some resistance", a garda sergeant said.

On August 11, gardai were called to Temple Bar where Tollman was running up to people shouting while he had a pair of scissors. There was nothing to suggest he intended to do anything but he had the scissors while in a drunken state.

On August 12, he stole €909 worth of clothes from Brown Thomas on Grafton Street after cutting security tags off with scissors. He became aggressive and threatening to security staff after he was stopped. He then attempted to kick and punch out at gardai.

On August 17, he was walking through Temple Bar drinking a large glass of wine and when approached by gardai, he became aggressive and had to be pepper-sprayed.

While at Pearse Street Garda Station he became very aggressive in his cell and a garda went in to stop him attempting to self-harm with a plastic cup.

He assaulted a garda by spitting at him and urinated in the cell. Tollman also stole a pair of scissors from a Boots store on Grafton Street.

Judge O'Leary said it was "extraordinary" the accused had no previous convictions. Defence solicitor Michael French said Tollman suffered severely from drug addiction and bipolar disorder. He had been homeless in Dublin and "didn't really know where he was".

Tollman had been a very promising rugby player who represented Israel at international level, as well as spending three years in the Israeli army, Mr French said.

Spiralled

He was an "accomplished army man" and had been top of his class.

However, he began taking recreational drugs after leaving the military, and things "spiralled out of control". "This is a man who is not beyond redemption," Mr French said.

"When I drink and do drugs, I get aggressive and do stupid stuff," the accused said.

He had "serious support" from his family and was hoping to go into residential treatment.

Judge O'Leary remanded Tollman in custody for a week.

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