Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 April 2014

Monet punch suspect to deny responsibility

A 47-year-old man accused of punching a hole in a valuable Monet oil-painting at the National Gallery of Ireland will deny criminal responsibility for the damage, a judge was told yesterday.

Andrew Shannon of Willans Way, Ongar, Co Dublin, is charged with criminal damage at the National Gallery of Ireland on June 29.

Gardai arrested him after damage was inflicted to Claude Monet's 'Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat' painting, which is believed to be insured for up to €7m. The 1874 impressionist oil-painting had been exhibited in the gallery's room 10, but has since been removed for examination.

Mr Shannon was before Cloverhill District Court yesterday, having been remanded in custody on July 2 last.

His solicitor Aine Flynn told Judge John Lindsay that Mr Shannon was applying for bail. However, Detective Garda Conor O Braonain lodged an objection citing the seriousness of the alleged offence.

The court heard that the DPP has directed trial on indictment meaning the case will go before a judge and jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Objecting to bail, Det Gda O Braonain said it would be alleged that Mr Shannon "lunged at the painting with a raised fist and punched it".

He added that the exact value of damage caused would not be known until the painting has been expertly examined. He said the offence could result in a maximum 10-year sentence.

Defence solicitor Aine Flynn asked the court to note that her client suffered from health problems and that "there is going to be no admission of criminal responsibility".

Judge Lindsay refused bail and remanded Mr Shannon in custody to appear in two weeks pending the preparation of a Book of Evidence in the case.

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