Saturday 10 December 2016

Man assaulted landlord who unwittingly revealed his secret alternative rented accommodation to his family, court hears

Declan Brennan

Published 10/03/2016 | 16:37

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A retired truck driver assaulted a landlord who unwittingly revealed the man's secret alternative rented accommodation to his family, a court has heard.

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John Delaney (62) was going through marital disharmony while renting a flat in Palmerstown Woods, Clondalkin, Co Dublin under a fake name.

Delaney of Greenfort Close, Clondalkin Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Ian Strich at Palmerstown Woods on April 26, 2013. His only previous convictions are for minor road traffic offences, Garda Marcus Roantree testified.

Judge Martin Nolan told lawyers for Delaney: “Everybody has secrets but there’s no use beating up an innocent man because your secrets have seeped out”.

In April 2013 Mr Strich, the owner of the flat, called to the premises to read a meter. He found the flat empty and believed that his tenant had moved out without notifying him.

Mr Strich began making local inquiries and discovered that his tenant was living out of another address in Clondalkin. He went to that house and inadvertently revealed Delaney's alternative address to his family.

Delaney later contacted the landlord and said he would pay any rent he owed. The two men arranged to meet at the rented flat.

The court heard that Mr Strich was waiting at the flat when he saw Delaney approaching with two men. Delaney looked very angry and Mr Strich tried to barricade the door of the flat with his body.

The men got into the flat and during a struggle one of them hit the landlord over the head with an iron bar. The victim somehow managed to get away from the attackers and drove straight to the nearest garda station.

He was treated in hospital and received four staples to a cut at the back of his head.

Judge Nolan suspended a two year prison term on condition he pay €2,500 over to the victim within the next 18 months. He said the money was a punishment and an attempt to compensate the victim.

He told Delaney: “You’re a lucky man you are not going to jail. It was a cowardly and unprovoked assault”.

Keith Spencer BL, defending, said his client was living under an assumed name in another residence because of marital disharmony.

Asked why his client had beaten the victim up, counsel told Judge Nolan: “Mr Strich had called to his family home thinking he was a man of another name. The alternate residence wasn't known to his family”.

Counsel agreed with the judge that Delaney “wanted to confront Mr Strich and he brought help with him”. He said he brought the accomplices because the victim was 6ft 4' in height.

Mr Spencer said his client was sorry for what he did and confronted the victim in a fit of pique.

“This man knocked on his family home and unveiled essentially that he had an alternative to the family home,” he said.

Counsel said his client had worked all his life and his children were all grown up and had “left the nest”. He said there were marital differences and he was under stress at the time.

Mr Spencer said that he was now back in harmony with his “loving wife”.

Garda Roantree told Antonia Boyle BL, prosecuting, that Delaney said nothing of evidential value during his interview but that blood samples with the victim's DNA were found on a jacket seized from his family home.

Judge Nolan said that the gardaí investigated the incident very well and linked Delaney to the crime.

He said this was an ambush style assault and must have been a frightening incident. He said the victim might be a fine strong man but he didn't expect to be attack.

The court heard there was no bad blood between the men. Judge Nolan noted that Delaney had a good history of working as a truck driver and later a taxi driver.

He said it would be unjustified to imprison a 62-year-old who had never been in prison before.

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