Thursday 19 September 2019

Seven years for O'Hare after his 'enthusiastic' role in 'vicious' attack

‘Threat to society’: Dessie O’Hare’s ‘violent side is not in remission’. Picture: Collins
‘Threat to society’: Dessie O’Hare’s ‘violent side is not in remission’. Picture: Collins
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

Former INLA man Dessie 'The Border Fox' O'Hare has been 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.

Sentencing him, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said O'Hare 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.

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.

The court heard O'Hare told gardaí he was employed by businessman Jim Mansfield Jnr to evict the family. Mr Byrne worked for the late Jim Mansfield Snr, who owned the Citywest Hotel.

He also lived in a house at The Towers, which became the subject of a dispute involving Mr Mansfield Jr.

The court heard Mr Mansfield Jr went with Mr Byrne to a meeting with two former INLA members - O'Hare and Declan 'Whacker' Duffy - and that when Mr Mansfield left the room, five more men came in.

Mr Byrne was forced into a car, assaulted and brought to his home. He pleaded to be given a few days to leave his home, but O'Hare told him he was to "get out right now".

The gang of seven men assaulted John Roche, who had earlier refused to let them on to the premises. He was punched, kicked and stamped on while on the ground and O'Hare could be seen on CCTV kicking him four times.

Mr Justice Hunt said aggravating factors included O'Hare's "serious previous criminal record".

Mr Roche suffered wounds including a fracture to his nose and to an arm bone.

It was a "vicious assault" and O'Hare was an "enthusiastic participant", the judge said.

The court had no doubt the reputations of O'Hare and Duffy would have been well known to Mr Byrne.

When Mr Byrne did not "take the hint" from the menacing tone of a first meeting, it progressed to violence.

While O'Hare's actions were primarily directed toward Mr Roche, he continued to play a "supervisory role" in the imprisonment of Mr Byrne, Mr Justice Hunt continued.

There was a "very disturbing victim impact statement" which showed the damage done to the Byrne family was significant, ongoing and had a permanent aspect.

Family members were still under witness protection, he said.

In mitigation, he noted the accused had pleaded guilty and made a written expression of remorse.

Mr Justice Hunt said the case indicated "the violent side of Mr O'Hare's personality is not in remission".

"The threat represented to society by Mr O'Hare's disposition to violence has not completely abated," he added.

O'Hare had previous convictions for possession of a firearm in 1977 and assaulting a garda in 1979.

He was given a 40-year jail sentence in 1988 for false imprisonment and assault causing grievous bodily harm. As a result of the Good Friday Agreement, he was released from that sentence in October 2008.

Duffy was jailed for six years last year after pleading guilty to assaulting Mr Roche.

He also admitted falsely imprisoning Mr Byrne. Three other men have also been jailed for the attack.

Irish Independent

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