Sunday 26 October 2014

Three men to be sentenced for city centre attack on US tourists

Published 25/07/2014 | 17:25

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(Stock photo)

Three men who took part in a vicious city-centre attack on two US tourists who had tried to stop a robbery will be sentenced next week.

The tourists tried several times to hail taxis to escape their attackers who were throwing glass bottles, but the drivers “didn’t want to know about it”.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring, at the earlier sentencing of a co-accused, had criticised this failure to help the victims, saying the attack happened in “one of the busiest places in the city and yet shamefully no-one came to the assistance of these men”.

US stockbroker Garth Russell suffered permanent facial scarring and still has glass embedded under his eye. The court heard his career was “significantly stunted” because of the attack. His brother Patrick suffered a broken arm.

A jury found Ian Dent (21) of Stanaway Road, Crumlin, guilty by majority verdict of two counts of violent disorder at Merchant's Arch in Dublin 2 and at nearby Crampton Quay on April 29, 2012.

Aidan Finnegan (28) of Reuben Street, Rialto, was unanimously convicted of one count of violent disorder.

Father-of-two Richard Fish (24) of St Anthony's Road, Rialto, pleaded guilty on his trial date to two counts of violent disorder.

A fourth accused, Anthony Clifford (23) of Mourne Rd, Drimnagh, was previously sentenced to six years in prison with one year suspended after pleading guilty to two counts of violent disorder.

Sergeant Amanda Flood told Kerida Naidoo BL, prosecuting, that the brothers were walking in Temple Bar when they stumbled on an apparent mugging in progress at Merchants' Arch.

When Garth Russell intervened and threatened to call gardaí, the gang of youths turned on the brothers and began assaulting them.

The groups separated after a brief scuffle, but the gang armed themselves with glass bottles and chased the Americans down the quays.

The brothers tried unsuccessfully to hail taxis, before Garth Russell was struck in the face and head with a broken bottle, after which “everything went dark”. His brother Patrick was struck in the arm as he tried to defend himself from a punch.

The three accused were arrested and identified themselves on CCTV footage, though all maintained they were not the main protagonists.

The court heard Dent, who has 26 previous minor convictions, is a promising footballer and is due to start college in September.

Padraig Dwyer SC, defending Dent, said his client went “off the rails” with a drink and drug problem but is now free from illicit drugs and regrets his involvement.

Gerry O'Brien SC, defending Finnegan, said his client comes from a respectable family and worked as a joiner for seven years. Finnegan has eight previous convictions.

Tara Burns SC, defending Fish, said he was very remorseful and wanted to apologise to the Russell brothers. She said Fish, who has 69 previous convictions, is actively engaged in alcohol addiction treatment.

Judge Patrick McCartan remanded all three in custody for sentencing on Monday.

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