Courts

Saturday 2 August 2014

Man (21) partied at festival on bail for robbing OAP farmer (twice)

GORDON DEEGAN

Published 27/03/2014|08:29

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Joseph Lernihan

A member of a gang that terrorised an elderly man who ended up fleeing his own home on a bicycle in the middle of the night has again avoided jail for separate offences he committed while on bail for robbing the pensioner.

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Joseph Lernihan (21), of Finnanon Park, Mullagh, Co Clare, was yesterday told by a judge that he faces jail if he is convicted of another public order offence.

Earlier this month, Lernihan walked free from court after receiving a suspended three-year jail term when convicted of twice robbing Cree bachelor farmer, Michael McMahon (68) in February 2012.

On the night, Mr McMahon abandoned his home and cycled 30 miles through the night to check himself into a nursing home in Ennis after being terrorised for a second night.

Mr McMahon was put in "absolute fear" over the two nights, with the robbers making threats on the second occasion that they were going to return to rob him for a third time -- this time for ¿50,000.

Mr Lernihan was the only person before the court to be convicted of robbing Mr McMahon on both occasions.

At Ennis District Court yesterday, Mr Lernihan pleaded guilty to two separate public order offences and a count of criminal damage committed at the Lisdoonvarna Match-Making festival on September 22nd last year.

The offenses were committed while Mr Lernihan was on bail for the McMahon robbery.

Judge Patrick Durcan told Mr Lernihan that he had showed complete contempt for gardai when asked about the incident at the match-making festival last September.

Insp Tom Kennedy said that the case involved an unusual set of events in the early hours of September 22nd last where Mr Lernihan, in a very drunken state, got into the back seat of a parked car driven by someone he didn't know.

Insp Kennedy said that words were exchanged between Mr Lernihan and driver, Gerald O'Connor, from Kinvara, and Mr Lernihan took his anger out on the car, kicking it a number of times and causing ¿600 worth of damage.

Insp Kennedy also revealed that the compensation had been paid in full.

In evidence, Mr O'Connor said that Mr Lernihan hopped into the car and then asked that he race out the road and perform "doughnuts"

He added: "I told him to get out of the car and he became very aggressive."

Judge Durcan said: "Some people come to Lisdoonvarna for a festival and this fella' kicks the you-know-what out of a car."

Silage contractor Mr Lernihan gave a false name to gardai after the incident, and Judge Durcan said: "I don't like people treating gardai in the fashion that Mr Lernihan did on the night in question -- showing complete contempt."

Fining father-of-one Mr Lernihan ¿250, Judge Durcan warned him: "I don't want to see you coming into the court again."

He added: "If I see you on a public order matter and it is open to me to sentence you to prison, that is where you are going next".

"You are building a list of convictions that is not commendable, despite what all the referees say about you."

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