Caught red-handed: Gardaí on patrol heard dad-to-be smashing windows in escalation of feud
A father-to-be smashed the front windows of a house in an escalation of a row between two Traveller families.
Michael Collins (27) was caught red-handed when gardai heard the noise of breaking glass while they were on routine patrol in the west Dublin area.
Judge David McHugh convicted and sentenced Collins to four months in prison, saying he believed the offence was one of "considerable criminality".
The defendant, of Parslickstown Gardens, Mulhuddart, admitted a charge of criminal damage when he appeared before Blanchardstown District Court.
The incident happened at Dromheath Grove, Blanchardstown, on September 25 last year.
Gda Andrew Reynolds told the court he was on routine patrol at Dromheath Grove at about 5.40am when he saw the defendant smash a downstairs window of a house.
Gda Reynolds said the defendant also smashed a window in the front door. The total damage was €800, the court heard.
Gda Reynolds said Collins left the front garden of the house and ran away when he saw gardai. He was later arrested and charged.
A second man was with Collins at the time of the incident.
The court heard the defendant has 34 previous convictions, including two for criminal damage.
Defence solicitor Kelly Breen said Collins was willing to pay compensation for the damage he caused.
She said the incident arose from a falling out between two families in the Traveller community.
She said Collins accepts what he did was "appalling" and the way he behaved was "not the way to deal with issues".
In relation to the defendant's personal circumstances, Ms Breen said Collins left school at a very young age and has little formal education.
He has a stammer and experienced difficulties with learning at school, she said. Ms Breen also said Collins and his partner are expecting their first child next year.
She asked the judge not to send Collins to jail, saying he was willing to work with the Probation Service.
Imposing a four-month sentence, Judge McHugh said Collins has a "considerable past" and he believed he was left with no option but to send him to jail.
Collins immediately app-ealed the sentence.