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Brothers jailed for smashing up pub during riot

SEVEN brothers who were among a group of people who violently took over a north Dublin pub and caused damage costing €90,000 have received sentences of between two and four years each.

Martin (41), David (37), Brian (31), Christopher (27), Paul (26), William (25) and Stephen (24) Lawrence all pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to violent disorder at John D's Pub in Balbriggan on Bank Holiday Monday, May 4, 2009.

The Lawrence brothers comprised of four Balbriggan men, David of Gardiners Hill, Paul of Hamilton Terrace, William of Milara Court and Stephen of Pinewood Green Road; along with Martin of The Dunes, Enniscrone, Co Sligo; Brian of Talbot Hall, Applewood, Swords and Christopher of Mourne Park, Skerries.


Judge Katherine Delahunt sentenced David Lawrence, who had been barred from the family-run pub and whom she described as the "ring leader", to four years in jail with the final 12 months suspended.

She sentenced Christopher, Paul, William and Martin Lawrence each to two years and six months with the final year suspended.

The judge gave two-year sentences each to Brian and Stephen Lawrence and suspended the final 12 months in both cases.

She accepted each man, particularly Brian Lawrence, had entered early guilty pleas, had expressed remorse and shame and had gathered a combined €9,200 compensation which included some of the brothers' bail money.

But she also told them she would never accept alcohol abuse as a reason for offending behaviour.

She said: "Each of you to a greater or lesser extend caused the damage and you all participated in wanton vandalism."

Sergeant Liam Donahue told Mr Garrett Baker, prosecuting, that Mr William Roe had taken the lease on the pub about 11 months beforehand and had spent about €45,000 on decorating and fireproofing the pub in that time.

Mr Roe told gardai after the incident the scene inside the pub was "similar to a battle zone."


Televisions, furniture, beer pumps, shelves and plaster work had been smashed and 103 panes of glass had to be refitted. A snooker table had been pushed up against a back door to prevent gardai gaining access.

Sgt Donahue said CCTV footage showed the men, some of them shirtless, variously barricade the pub doors with stools, smash windows, break tables, smash pumps, spill alcohol and try to force the door to the office where the CCTV equipment was stored.

David is seen at one point to escort a female garda from the pub after she became surrounded.

Bottles and stools were also thrown at the Garda public unit as they tried to gain entry and fire extinguishers sprayed at them.

Sgt Donahue said the CCTV footage cut out for time when the electricity was switched off and when it resumed all the damage to the pub had been done.