Prison for seven brothers who wrecked pub in two-hour siege
SEVEN brothers were sentenced to between two and four years yesterday for their part in a violent pub takeover that caused €90,000 worth of damage.
The seven Lawrence brothers all pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to violent disorder at John D's Pub, Dublin Road, Balbriggan, Co Dublin, on the May Bank Holiday Monday last year.
Judge Katherine Delahunt sentenced David Lawrence (37), of Gardiners Hill, Balbriggan -- who had been barred from the family-run pub and whom the judge described as the "ring leader" -- to four years, with the final 12 months suspended.
She said he had been the most threatening on the day and had thrown a bottle at Sinead Roe, one of the licensees.
She sentenced Martin Lawrence (41), of The Dunes, Enniscrone, Co Sligo; Christopher Lawrence (27), of Mourne Park, Skerries, Co Dublin; Paul Lawrence (26), of Hamilton Terrace, Balbriggan; and William Lawrence (25), of Milara Court, Balbriggan, to two years and six months each with the final year suspended.
The judge gave two-year sentences each to Brian Lawrence (31), of Talbot Hall, Applewood, Swords, Co Dublin; and Stephen Lawrence (24), of Pinewood Green Road, Balbriggan, and suspended the final 12 months in both cases.
The judge accepted that each of the accused had entered early guilty pleas, had expressed remorse and shame and had gathered a combined €9,200 compensation.
"Each of you to a greater or lesser extent caused the damage and you all participated in wanton vandalism," the judge said.
Sergeant Liam Donahue said the pub had been under the control of the group for almost two hours before being reclaimed by force by the garda public order unit. The damage to the pub cost €90,000 to be repaired.
Televisions, furniture, beer pumps, shelves and plaster work had been smashed and 103 panes of glass had to be refitted. A snooker table had been pushed up against a back door to prevent gardai gaining access.
Judge Delahunt described the brothers' violent and drunken behaviour as "wanton vandalism" which had ruined the "hopes and aspirations" of the Roe family, who are now unemployed as a result. The trouble started after David Lawrence, who was banned from the pub, was refused a drink by a member of staff.
Rachael McDonagh heard David Lawrence say: "F*** Willie and f*** his bar, I am the barman now", and a female member of the group started clapping. Ms McDonagh then heard David Lawrence scream: "No one is getting in or out of this pub. The next person to come in is getting bottled."
Gardai were called, but held off until the public order unit arrived. When they attempted to gain entry David Lawrence sprayed a fire extinguisher out through a broken window. Gardai successfully reclaimed the pub shortly afterwards.
Sgt Donahue said CCTV footage showed the men had barricaded the pub doors with stools, smashed windows, broke tables, smashed pumps, spilled alcohol and tried to force the door to the office where the CCTV equipment was stored.