A Ballina man who injured a garda sergeant in a hit and run, and who has been described as a ‘liar and a law unto himself’, is claiming that he is being framed by gardaí.
On Thursday last, December 7, Joseph (Joe) Doocey (51), with an address at Knoxbarret, Ballina, appeared before Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, where he is due to have his sentence finalised on December 20.
Two months ago, Mr Doocey was found guilty by unanimous verdict of eleven counts, including endangerment and assault causing harm to Sergeant Declan Casey at or near Font Cross, Ballina, on June 8, 2015.
Doocey was also convicted of dangerous driving, failure to report the injury of Sgt Casey, criminal damage, failing to stop, failing to give information, leaving the scene and driving without valid tax displayed. He had denied all charges against him but was convicted by jury after an nine-day trial in October of this year.
In a victim impact statement read out in court on his behalf, Sgt Casey described Doocey as a ‘liar and a law unto himself’ who had caused ‘untold distress’ to him and his family through his ‘twisted and self-serving campaign for justice’.
Sgt Casey said that his knee ligament was torn during the incident in June 2015, causing ‘excruciating pain’ and requiring surgery, leaving him unable to work for nine months.
He said that although his knee has now healed, he continues to experience daily flashbacks of the hit and run.
The court heard that Doocey is a former member of two groups, Anti-Corruption Taskforce and Integrity Ireland.
Judge Melanie Greally adjourned sentencing after she ascertained from the defence counsel that Doocey would be willing to desist from his ‘campaign of hostility’ against Sgt Casey, his family, friends and colleagues as a condition of his sentencing.
Maurice Coffey BL, prosecuting, agreed to furnish the defence with a list of people to be covered by the condition.
‘Injured and helpless’
The court heard that on June 8, 2015, Doocey was stopped at a checkpoint on Bury Street, Ballina which had been set up by gardaí on foot of information received.
Sgt Casey and his colleague, Garda Peter Kearins, asked Doocey if they could speak to him in relation to a traffic incident that had occurred three days earlier on June 5.
Detective Sergeant Gerry Lee told Mr Coffey that Doocey shunted his car forward, hitting Sgt Casey, and then drove the car he was driving up onto the footpath, forcing Gda Kearins to jump out of the way, before driving off at speed.
The court heard that when Doocey got caught in traffic, Sgt Casey caught up with him on foot and asked him to get out of the car.
Doocey refused to stop and instead reversed, knocking Sgt Casey to the ground and driving over his foot, before ramming into a van several times.
CCTV footage of the incident showed Doocey’s car revving and the tyres spinning as he undertook what prosecution described as ‘very dangerous manoeuvres’ as Sgt Casey lay ‘injured and helpless’ in the middle of the junction.
The court heard that Gda Kearins took out his baton and struck Doocey’s car three times in an attempt to stop him, and that this was also captured on CCTV.
Doocey sped off in the direction of Killala in the car, which was later found abandoned at a cemetery.
Doocey left the jurisdiction, returned nine months later, and was arrested on February 1, 2016 in Portarlington. His bail was revoked after an application by gardaí, and he has been in custody since July 24 this year.
‘I’ve been set up’
The court heard that Doocey has a number of previous convictions, including harassment via a hoax phone call and text messages, criminal damage, obstruction of a peace officer and threatening behaviour in a public place.
Judge Greally returned a letter from Doocey that had been handed to her, unread. She said could not enter into private correspondence with him.
Doocey then took the stand and told the court that gardaí had begun a ‘campaign of harassment’ and ‘intimidation’ against him going back 16 or 17 years.
“I committed no crime; I don’t commit crime; anything I do, I do for the good of the community,” he said.
He claimed that witnesses in this case had been planted by the gardaí and that the CCTV footage had been tampered with. “I’ve been set up by the gardaí,” he said.
Paul Flannery SC, defending Doocey, said that the Probation Services had been unable to write a report, as Doocey did not accept the verdict of the jury.
Mr Flannery said his client lived with his partner and his 80-year-old father on a 30-acre farm, and that Doocey was a hard-working man. “This man has strong beliefs, but is fundamentally an honest man. I’m afraid that for his strong opinions, he may suffer,” said Mr Flannery.
Doocey was remanded in continuing custody.