A JUDGE has described a case involving two New Ross men as a very violent, threatening and a very nasty crime.
Judge Barry Hickson was passing sentence on two men who had pleaded guilty when they came before him at Wexford Circuit Criminal Court.
28-year-old Keith Dalton, of 2 Bosheen, New Ross, pleaded guilty to falsely imprisoning John O'Neill at Knockavilla, New Ross, on December 4, 2011.
Prosecuting Garda Edward Barry told the court that another defendant Mark Dempsey was dealt with on May 9 last. He said that in relation to Keith Dalton an application was made for a Probation and Welfare report.
Garda Barry said the incident occurred at Knockavilla when Mr. O'Neill was forced into the car being driven by Dalton. Mark Dempsey, a front seat passenger, struck Mr. O'Neill. During the course of the confinement Mr. O'Neill was punched in the head by Wall. A number of threats were made to Mr. O'Neill, including threats to chop his fingers off and take his nails out.
The genesis of this, said Garda Barry, was a dispute about money. He said that Mr. O'Neill was eventually released from the car at Rosbercon. He also said that the money may have been the proceeds of crime.
Relating to the money, Judge Hickson said he would have to give the defendants the benefit of the doubt in that for it may not have been the proceeds of crime. He said that Wall admitted striking Mr. O'Neill. He had previous convictions but had not come to the attention of gardai since the incident. Garda Barry said that Wall is a native of New Ross and has a partner and children. He had previous convictions.
Garda Barry told the court that Mr. O'Neill had attended Waterford Regional Hospital for bruising to his head and face. He had made a full recovery physically.
Aidan Doyle, S.C. for Dalton, said he had a chronic heroin habit at the time which was costing €50 to €100 per day. However, he had come a long way to recovering from this addiction having undergone a significant amount of counselling. He said that much of the violence occurred in the back of the car. The defendant, he said, had expressed his regret to Mr. O'Neill.
Colman Cody, S.C. for Wall, said that there was just one punch. The defendant, he said, has been making strides in his life for at the time of the incident he was under the influence and had been using drugs. This has served as a wake-up call for him while he had collected €800 for his part in this.
In evidence John Wall expressed his regret to Mr. O'Neill for what had happened. Since the incident he had not been in contact with Mr. O'Neill. He said that he attends the Cornmarket Project four days per week and had attended an anger management course.
Mr. Cody said his client accepted it was a very frightening ordeal for Mr. O'Neill.
Judge Hickson said that Wall had collected €800 through his own efforts and was making significant efforts to rehabilitate himself. He said he would adjourn the case relating to Wall for twelve months, and if he continues the progress as set out in the Probation and Welfare report he would impose a two-year suspended sentence. He also ordered that a further sum of €1,800 be paid within eighteen months.
In relation to Dalton, Judge Hickson said he had previous convictions. He had a drugs problem at the time and continuing to attend the Cornmarket Project. He said he would adjourn the case for twelve months on the defendant paying €4,000 and that he submit himself for treatment for his drugs problem. He must pay €2,000 within a year and a further €2,000 the following year
Should he fail to comply with these direction he would impose a three-year sentence which he would suspend for five years.