A man claimed a woman had been kidnapped near Lifford in order to escape from a garda checkpoint as he had no insurance.
The bizarre case was heard at Friday’s sitting of Letterkenny District Court where Carlos Lawrence (30) was charged with making a false report to Gardaí.
The court heard that Lawrence, of 33 Rosary Road, Mary Hall, Dublin, had dozens of previous convictions, including one for aggravated burglary.
Garda Sergeant Jim Collins told Judge Alan Mitchell that Gardaí set up a checkpoint at Rossgier, Lifford, on November 11, 2017, arising out of a report of ‘an incident’ in Northern Ireland. They stopped a VW Golf and the driver, Lawrence, appeared to be on his mobile phone.
He said he was speaking to his aunt, gave his name as ‘Jason Prenderville’ and also gave a false address.
Moments later, a 999 report came through to the patrol car giving details of an abduction of a woman at gunpoint in the area.
Officers were faced with the dilemma of abandoning the checkpoint in order to go in search of the ‘abducted’ woman. However, another garda suspected that it was Lawrence who made the 999 call.
“He said he was on the phone to his aunt, but he had been actively ringing 999 in order to make a false report in an effort to divert Gardai,” Sgt Collins told the court.
“Officers were forced to make a decision on whether or not to leave, but another garda was aware of communications from inside the car and decided to stay at the checkpoint. And all this was done because Lawrence had no insurance.”
Defending solicitor, Mr Patsy Gallagher, said his client was advised to ‘leave Dublin’ and had moved to Donegal to start a new life.
Mr Gallagher added the father of two was currently serving another prison sentence and was making ‘good use’ of his time inside. He said he was working in the prison kitchen and was now drug free.
“He was also very easy to deal with as he is well aware of the courts system,” Mr Gallagher added.
Judge Mitchell said the defendant had made a serious allegation of kidnapping which took up a lot of valuable garda time.
“However, it was very professional of Gardaí to realise what was going on and they smelled a rat,” Judge Mitchell said.
Because of his early plea, the judge said, he would convict Lawrence and sentence him to four months in prison.