Sunday 21 January 2018

Man who threatened to kill acquaintance ordered to make donation to charity and spared prison

The Courts of Criminal Justice
The Courts of Criminal Justice

Sonya McLean

A Dublin man who was convicted last month of threatening to kill an acquaintance has received a three year suspended sentence and ordered to raise €5,000 for a charity nominated by his victim.

Mark Sheridan (25) of Railway Road, Clongriffin, Dublin , had pleaded not guilty to threatening to kill or cause serious harm to Mark Jones at Feltrim Road, Kinsealy on October 20, 2013.

He had also denied charges of having a firearm and harassing Mr Jones on dates between July 1, 2013 and October 19, 2013, but the jury acquitted him of these offences. The jury returned its verdict following a four day trial.

Mr Jones had told the jury he was stopped at traffic lights and that Sheridan was directly behind him in his blue Honda Accord. He said there was possibly up to six cars stopped at the lights.

Sheridan and another man got out of the Accord. Mr Jones said the other man was wearing a balaclava and had a gun in his hand. He started smacking it off the passenger side of his car.

Mr Jones told Martina Baxter BL, prosecuting, that someone shouted “You're dead. Get out of the car” and there was a mention of a pipe bomb being thrown at his house.

He said Sheridan was kicking his driver's door, punching at the window and pulling on the door handle before he said to Mr Jones, “You're dead. You're a rat.”

Mr Jones said: “I was scared. I thought my life was in danger. I couldn't believe it at the time. It was like something out of a TV show.”

At the sentence hearing today at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Mary Ellen Ring noted that Sheridan seemed to have “grown up since the date of the offence.”

She further noted that Sheridan had not come to garda attention since, but said she couldn't overlook the seriousness of the crime.

She suspended the sentence for three years but warned Sheridan he must have no contact with the injured party, including through social media.

The judge directed that Sheridan raise €5,000 by September, which Mr Jones can give to charity or keep himself.

Mr Jones previously indicated that he did not wish to receive compensation.

Mr Jones said during the trial that the lights turned green and he drove off, taking the long way home. He said the Honda Accord didn't follow.

He contacted gardaí the following day and later made a statement.

Mr Jones agreed with Paul Commiskey O'Keefe BL, defending, that in around May or June of that year he had a conversation with another young man in the area who accused Mr Jones of being with his girlfriend.

Mr Jones said that he had told this man he had been with his own girlfriend for a number of years at that stage and he had no reason to cheat on her.

He described this other youth as a “nervous wreck” and said he started mentioning loads of names whom he suspected may have been with his girlfriend.

Mr Jones said he had told this other youth that the girl in question had previously been seen in Sheridan's car along with one of the accused's friends.

Judge Ring called Garda Domhnall O'Connell into the witness box following the verdict to provide the jury with more background information in relation to both men and the possible cause of their disagreement.

Gda O'Connell confirmed that the men knew each other and neither had any previous convictions.

Gda O'Connell added that gardaí have their own suspicions as to the cause of their disagreement but said there was no evidence to support this.

He confirmed that there had been no further incidents between the men and agreed with counsel that Sheridan had abided by his bail conditions.

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