Saturday 21 September 2019

Victim loses artificial finger as car blocked by a 'bunch of blaggards'

Stock photo
Stock photo

Gordon Deegan

A judge has described an incident in west Clare - when two men stopped a car driving out of Doonbeg - as "vigilantism at its worst".

Judge Patrick Durcan made his comment at Kilrush District Court after hearing one person lost a prosthetic finger in the incident when a car containing four people was stopped from leaving the village.

Judge Durcan said: "We have a situation where a bunch of blaggards think they can take the law into their own hands in any part of Co Clare and I can't have that."

In the case, Judge Durcan has ordered Patrick Hurley (31), of Lu Na Si, Miltown Malbay, to pay the un-named injured party €1,000 for the loss of the prosthetic finger.

When first given an outline of the facts, Judge Durcan said the owner of the arm didn't suffer any pain in losing the prosthetic finger "and required a bit of glue".

However, Insp Paul Slattery told Judge Durcan that the damage done to the person's prosthetic arm was quite extensive, costing around €2,000 to repair.

Judge Durcan said: "I have to put a value on the finger and I am going to put Hurley's responsibility on the finger at €1,000.

"It has to be replaced. Somebody lost a finger."

In the case, Hurley pleaded guilty to wilfully preventing the free passage of a car at Doonbeg village on January 11, 2018.

The defendant also pleaded guilty to interfering with the same car and assaulting his ex-girlfriend, who was a passenger in the backseat of the car.

Insp Slattery said that a guitar worth €700 was taken from the car and later found damaged beyond use.

There is a co-accused with Hurley in the case who has left the country and Judge Durcan ordered Hurley pay half the compensation owed, totalling €1,350 - €1,000 towards the lost finger and €350 towards the guitar.

Insp Slattery said that it had been accepted by the State that Hurley had not directly damaged the prosthetic arm or finger.

Insp Slattery said that Hurley tried to remove the woman - his ex-girlfriend - from the back of the car and punched another male in the car in the face.

In the case, Judge Durcan said that Hurley was one of a "bunch of vigilantes".

Insp Slattery added that Hurley had no previous convictions.

He said that the car was prevented from leaving the village and in reply, Judge Durcan said: "That was vigilantism as its worst."

Solicitor for Mr Hurley, Daragh Hassett said that what occurred was a one-off for his client.

Judge Durcan gave Mr Hurley until May to pay the €1,350 in compensation and said that if the money wasn't paid up, he would be facing a prison sentence.

Irish Independent

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