Man jailed for six years after firing shots at gardaí

ireland
Man Jailed For Six Years After Firing Shots At Gardaí
The man also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving at Old Youghal Road in Cork on the same date.
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Olivia Kelleher

A young man who fired shots from an imitation handgun at gardaí and engaged in a high speed chase before crashing in to a toll barrier has been jailed for six years.

Tommy Mannah of Mount Vernon View in Cork city, appeared before Cork Circuit Court having pleaded guilty to using an imitation firearm for the purpose of resisting arrest on July 4th, 2020 on the M8 Northbound at Ballinahina, Rathcormac Co Cork.

He also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving at Old Youghal Road in Cork on the same date.

Det Garda Kieran O’Sullivan told Judge Sean O’Donnabhain that after Mannah (22) crashed through a barrier at the toll plaza on the M8 officers had to use a stinger device to puncture and disable his car.

Mr Mannah had an imitation firearm in his possession which gardaí believed was real.

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Det Garda O’Sullivan previously said gardaí received a call at 11.30pm on July 3rd, 2020 about a man breaking in to a car on the north side of Cork city and being in possession of a firearm.

Alleged handgun

“Gardai attended the scene. Tommy Mannah returned with an alleged handgun, which he discharged in the direction of gardaí hitting one member in the arm. He then got in to the car and drove from the scene.

“He was signalled to stop and he failed. He discharged shots out the window of the car. He crashed through a barrier at the toll plaza.

“A stinger was placed on the motorway. Armed Support Unit members approached and identified themselves as armed gardaí. It is alleged that he discharged shots at armed gardaí.

“A taser was discharged, and he was successfully arrested. This was observed be a number of witnesses from gardai at Military Hill to the N8 motorway. Gardai never lost sight of him during this," he said.

Det Garda O’Sullivan said that members of the Armed Support Unit identified themselves as gardai to Mr Mannah as he got out of his vehicle and that he continued to fire at them, prompting them to return fire before he was tasered and arrested.

CCTV footage

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Det Sgt O’Sullivan said even without the guilty plea in the case the evidence against Mannah was strong in that he was in sight of gardaí at all times from the time he left Military Road until his arrest and he was also captured on CCTV footage.

He accepted that the firearm turned out to be a pellet pistol and the uniformed officer who was shot was not hurt. However, he said it was a serious incident.

Mannah, who is a native of Sierra Leone who moved to Ireland when he was three, was under the influence of cannabis, back pain medication and alcohol at the time of the offence.

Judge O’Donnnabhain said the lack of insight shown by Mannah was “alarming.” The Probation Report indicated that Mannah still feels victimised by gardaí and has not taken responsibility for his behaviour on the night in question.

Defence counsel Siobhán Lankford said that her client came from a difficult background and moved out of home as a teenager. He was enrolled in university but dropped out. She said that Mannah suffered from significant mental health difficulties.

Judge O’Donnabhain described the behaviour of Mannah as “worrying.”

“This is a significant and serious case involving the use of an imitation firearm for a prolonged period of time. Undoubtedly gardai and passers-by thought the gun was genuine. He feels victimised by Gardai and had no empathy for his victims. “

He disqualified Mannah from driving for 10 years and jailed him for eight years with the last two years suspended. Judge O’Donnabhain took the guilty plea and Mannah’s young age in to account when sentencing.

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