Saturday 17 August 2019

Reasons for shorter jail time 'hard to swallow'

John O'Grady
John O'Grady
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Victims of former INLA man Dessie 'The Border Fox' O'Hare will find it "hard to swallow" that he won't spend longer in prison for "technical reasons", Fianna Fáil TD Jack Chambers has said.

O'Hare was jailed for seven years for his part in the assault of one man and false imprisonment of another during the eviction of a family from their Dublin home.

He is likely to serve less than five years of that sentence when remission is taken into account and if he is of good behaviour.

It also emerged a previous 40-year sentence O'Hare was serving for the 1987 kidnapping of Dublin dentist John O'Grady cannot be reactivated despite his latest conviction.

O'Hare was released early from that sentence under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement in 2008.

It cannot be reactivated because he would have been entitled to one-quarter remission for the sentence.

The sentence is deemed to have been completed because the 30-year period he would have served for the brutal kidnapping has elapsed.

O'Hare cut off parts of Mr O'Grady's fingers during the 23-day ordeal and was convicted and sentenced for the kidnapping offence in April 1988. Mr O'Grady died from cancer in 2016.

Mr Chambers, a member of the Oireachtas Justice Committee, said his thoughts are with O'Hare's victims and their families.

He added: "I'm sure they will find it hard to swallow that, for very technical reasons, this violent individual will not face a more extensive period in prison."

Mr Chambers also said that "of course the same rules should apply to everybody, but it instinctively feels wrong".

Sentencing O'Hare for his latest crime, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said he had been a "front man" in the attack and an "enthusiastic participant" in a "vicious assault".

He said the "violent side" of O'Hare's personality was "not in remission" and the threat to society posed by his "disposition to violence" had not completely abated. Mr Justice Hunt said aggravating factors included O'Hare's "serious previous criminal record".

O'Hare (62), of Slate Rock Road, Newtownhamilton, Co Armagh, pleaded guilty to assaulting John Roche, causing him harm, at The Towers, Garter Lane, Saggart, Co Dublin, on June 9, 2015. He also admitted falsely imprisoning Martin Byrne at Rathcoole and Saggart.

At the non-jury Special Criminal Court, O'Hare was given a 10-year sentence for false imprisonment, with three years suspended, and another concurrent three-year sentence for the assault. O'Hare had previous convictions for possession of a firearm in 1977 and assaulting a garda in 1979.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News