Garda blinded by chemical substance while arresting car thief suspect in Dublin

A Dublin woman accused of using an unknown chemical substance to “temporarily blind” a garda officer as they tried to arrest a suspected car thief has been charged with assault.

The attack took place last Thursday night while two officers were attempting to arrest an alleged car thief at the Basin Street Flats in the South Inner-city. It is believed that the woman sitting in the passenger seat of the car when the arrest was being made.

GoCar, a car rental service in the city, contacted gardai when they found that a tracking device had been removed from one of their vehicles. Gardai then identified the stolen vehicle at around 9.45pm, shortly before the violent incident took place.

Frances Harrison, 31, was charged with assault and is accused in a connected offence of being a passenger in a stolen vehicle. The woman was denied parole in court this morning and was visibly upset upon hearing the news. Judge John Campbell of Dublin District Court denied her parole due to the positive identification by Gardai and by the various accounts of video evidence, both CCTV and mobile phone footage, against her.

The woman is alleged to have sprayed an unknown chemical at the gardai, one of whom was ‘temporaily blinded’, and both gardai were injured in the assault.

The contested bail hearing was told that a number of locals came out of their flats in order to intimidate gardai and allow the allegedly stolen vehicle to make its escape, however more garda shortly arrived on the scene and arrests were made and the situation appeared to cool down.

Both gardai are recovering at home, with one waiting to be seen by a doctor for potential damage to their eye.

Due to delays in the justice system, Ms. Harrison’s trial may not be heard until 2025 or 2026. She will, however, remain in custody until her next hearing on Wednesday.

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