Saturday 23 September 2017

Man stabbed ex-school pal ‘over woman’

Sonya McLean

A MAN who stabbed a former school mate in what he claimed was “a crime of passion” will be sentenced next March.

Joseph Barker’s victim told gardai that his attacker asked him where he had been hiding and “where is my money” before he “jabbed” at his neck with a six inch knife.

James O’Reilly was later treated for a 2cm cut to his neck and defensive wounds to the palm of his hand.

Barker (21) of Castlegrange Avenue, Swords, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm and production of a knife in Swords on July 10, 2011.

He had no convictions at the time but has since been convicted of possession of cannabis herb and cannabis resin.

Diarmuid Collins, prosecuting, told Judge Mary Ellen Ring the State don’t accept Barker’s contention that he stabbed Mr O’Reilly in “a crime of passion”.

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He had told gardai in interview that he had been going out with a woman who later started a relationship with Mr O’Reilly. He added that the victim had been “mouthing off” about her and that this had been the background to the assault.

Mr Collins told the court that there was a further statement in the book of evidence to contest this but it was not admissible.

Judge Ring said it was irrelevant as to whether it was “a crime of passion or a crime of revenge”.but noted Barker’s subsequent convictions for possession of drugs.

“The fact is that Mr O’Reilly was sitting lawfully in his friend’s car which he was entitled to do and Mr Barker set upon and unlawfully stabbed him, which he was not entitled to do” she said.

Judge Ring readmitted Barker to bail.

He had been remanded in custody when he pleaded guilty last month.

She adjourned sentencing to March next and ordered an updated probation report and urine analysis for that date.

Detective Garda Aidan Maguire told Mr Collins that the victim was sitting in a friend’s car when Barker drove up behind them, opened the door and held the knife against his neck.

He described Barker “jabbing” him about ten times before he said to him; “Where were you hiding? I want my money, you have seven days to get it, or your Ma will get the same thing. You better not rat.”

Barker was arrested a number of days later after Mr O’Reilly named him as the culprit.

He told gardaí that someone had called him and told him the victim was in the estate and admitted he had been looking for him.

He said he had intended to hit him a “few slaps” and had just brought the knife because he knew the victim’s “mates would be there”.

Barker claimed that he hit the victim “a few punches in the mouth” but then he pinned him back to his seat and cut the side of his neck after some men got out of the back of the car and started “mouthing off”.

Gda Maguire said Mr O’Reilly didn’t prepare a victim impact report.

Dominic McGinn SC, defending told Judge Ring his client instructed that he had issues with Mr O’Reilly because of the girl he had previously been in a relationship with. He said the two men had gone to school together.

He said it had neither been a sophisticated or planned attack and Barker had made no attempt to disguise himself or avoid detection by gardaí.

Barker, who had been making a living by breeding Siberian Husky dogs, had €3,700 in court as a token of his remorse.

Mr McGinn asked the judge to accept that Barker was not a career criminal or a violent young man and that he had learned a “salutary lesson” since his remand in custody.

hnews@herald.ie

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