Anti-vaccine activist pleads guilty to assaulting garda

Anti-vaccine activist Antonio Mureddu has pleaded guilty to assaulting a Clare-based Garda and dangerous driving.

At Ennis Circuit Court on Wednesday, Mr Mureddu pleaded guilty to the assault of Garda James Hanley with intent to resist or prevent the lawful apprehension or detention of himself for dangerous driving at Knockanean outside Ennis on August 10th, 2021.

Garda Hanley was present in court for Mr Mureddu’s arraignment, when the case was listed for trial.

Mr Mureddu also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving on the M18 motorway at Caheraphuca, Crusheen on August 10th, 2021.

Mr Mureddu has been on remand in custody since March 12th and at each District Court appearance, the accused denied he was Mr Mureddu.

On several occasions, the 47-year-old told Judge Alec Gabbett: “I am not Mr Mureddu, judge.”

On another occasion, Mr Mureddu told the judge: “I am a LGBT member. I am transgender also.”

However, when asked by the registrar on Wednesday if he Antonio Mureddu, he replied: “I am”.

Counsel for Mr Mureddu, Patrick Barriscale BL, instructed by solicitor Colum Doherty, said his client would be applying for bail ahead of sentencing as he has personal and business matters to tend to in Galway.

Counsel for the State, Lorcan Connolly BL, instructed by solicitor Aisling Casey, said the State would be objecting to bail as Mr Mureddu was arrested on foot of a bench warrant in March after he had absconded for two years.

After Mr Connolly said the State would be able to proceed with sentencing on Thursday and a victim impact statement would be provided in advance of the hearing, Mr Barriscale said Mr Mureddu would not be proceeding with his bail application.

At a pre-trial hearing last week, Mr Mureddu, who was then representing himself, confirmed he was considering pleading guilty. The judge on that day said he would grant legal aid, strongly advising Mr Mureddu that he should be legally represented.

Prior to his March arrest, Mr Mureddu, formerly of Headford Arms Hotel, Headford, Co Galway, had been ‘at large’ since June 2022, when a bench warrant was issued by Ennis District Court for his arrest after he failed to attend court in respect of the assault on Gda Hanly.

Mr Mureddu did not show up in court in June 2022 after a medical report was provided on his behalf which stated the accused had “Covid symptoms”.

Mr Mureddu was arrested by gardaí in Co Donegal in March, and the accused subsequently claimed in court that he had been “kidnapped” by gardaí.

The sentencing hearing is due to take place at Ennis Circuit Court on Thursday.

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