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Two men sentenced for Dublin city centre assault

TWO young men have been sentenced for their roles in the assault of two young men on a night out in the city centre which left one of the victims with plates holding his jaw together.

Marcus Gantley (19) and Derek Lawlor (20) were among a group of youths who attacked the two men following an earlier verbal altercation.

Gantley, of Glovers Court, Dublin 2 and Lawlor, of Long Lane, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting Danny McElroy and James Dalton at Augier Street on January 8, 2011.

Judge Martin Nolan noted that Gantley has already received a suspended sentence for other incidents close to the time of this offence and, although he has not come to further garda attention, his previous convictions were an aggravating factor.

He said it would be unjust not to impose a custodial term given this “reprehensible” behaviour and imposed a three year sentence with the final 18 months suspended.

Judge Nolan noted this was Lawlor’s first visit to court. He said he could take into account the fact Lawlor had brought to court a sum of money as token of remorse because he had no previous convictions.

He imposed a three year suspended sentence on condition that Lawlor gather a further €5,000 within the next year to be transmitted to Mr McElroy.

Garda Marta Radziul told Tara Burns BL, prosecuting, that the victims were on a night out and in the early hours of the morning Mr Dalton and Mr McElroy’s girlfriend were sitting on the steps of DIT waiting for Mr McElroy to return from getting food.

Mr McElroy’s girlfriend thought she saw him across the road and called out but it turned out to be Lawlor who crossed the road, had a verbal altercation with Mr Dalton and left.

Shortly afterwards Mr McElroy returned and Lawlor and five other youths came upon the scene. An altercation occurred between these youths and Mr McElroy and Mr Dalton.

Mr Dalton was hit to the face and shouted at. He was punched and fell to the ground and was kicked as he lay on the ground.

Mr McElroy attempted to leave but was punched to the back of the head and fell to the ground where he was kicked. Mr Dalton attempted to get up to help him but he was stopped by the youths. The entire incident lasted about three minutes before the youths left the area.

Mr Dalton was in a position to walk around but Mr McElroy was unconscious. Mr McElroy sustained a fracture to his jaw bone which necessitated surgery and required him to have two metal plates inserted to hold his jaw together. Mr Dalton sustained bruising.

The accused men were identified from other CCTV in the area. Lawlor made admissions to gardai but Gantley exercised his right to silence.

Sandra Frayne BL, defending Gantley, said her client could not remember much about the incident and wished to apologise to both victims. She said he had taken snow blow and alcohol and was out of control at the time of the offence.

She said he was not in a financial position to offer any money to the injured party. He is in receipt of €188 a week.

She said the court had already imposed a two and a half year suspended sentence on Gantley in relation to violent disorder incidents which occurred around the same time and asked the court not to impose a custodial sentence.

She said Gantley had a supportive network around him and was attending a FAS course.

James Dwyer BL, defending Lawlor, said he was an avid sportsman who had played in the past for Shamrock Rovers. He said he was going through a difficult period at home at the time of the offence and fell in with a peer group he now no longer associates with.

He said Lawlor was currently in college and had a sum of money to offer as a token of remorse. He also earns €188 per week. He handed character references into court on his client’s behalf.

Mr Dwyer said Lawlor had expressed remorse for the incident and had not come to any further garda attention.