Witnesses praised by judge for resisting threats
A JUDGE yesterday praised the bravery of witnesses and a jury after sentencing a man to 10 years for an attempted murder over a €200 drug debt.
Handing down sentence at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Paul Carney said the trial of Michael Brennan (22), of Cromcastle Drive, Kilmore, Coolock, Dublin, had been conducted in an "atmosphere of intimidation".
He said the "combined courage" of the jury and the witnesses had "overcome the accused's express view that he was 'untouchable'".
Brennan was convicted in December of the attempted murder of James Egan and of possession of a sawn-off shotgun with intent to danger life.
The jury in the case had heard that he went with his now dead co-accused, Wesley Byrne, to Mr Egan's home at Cromcastle Court and carried out the organised shooting on April 29, 2006.
There was no forensic evidence in the trial and the accused was convicted on the evidence of people who were in Mr Byrne's home that night.
The court heard that during interviews with gardai, the accused was told there were witnesses, to which he replied: "I don't think the people will step up. They won't go to court." The witnesses, however, eventually testified.
Mr Justice Carney sentenced Brennan to 10 years in jail, backdated to September 14, 2007. He was also sentenced to eight years in prison for the firearms offence, to run concurrently. Leave to appeal was refused.