A FORMER soldier who took part in a violent attack on a man in a shopping centre has been given a suspended sentence after "learning his lesson" from a two-week stay in prison
Derek McLoughlin (47), of Ardgillan Lawns, Balbriggan, was one of six people who attacked Michael McDonagh at Ballymun Tower Centre on July 16, 2010.
He later grabbed a detective by the throat and head-butted him while being fingerprinted in the garda station.
Garda Ronan McMorrow told Shane Costelloe, prosecuting, that witnesses saw the men striking Mr McDonagh around the body before knocking him to the ground.
They then continued to punch, kick and stamp on him as he lay in a foetal position.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that during his arrest and fingerprinting, McLoughlin became violent and aggressive. He rubbed black ink all over his face and refused to wash it off. Garda McMorrow said McLoughlin then grabbed Detective Garda Adrian Mulligan by the throat and head-butted him.
McLoughlin pleaded guilty to violent disorder at Ballymun Tower Centre on July 16, 2010 and assaulting Det Garda Mulligan at Ballymun Garda Station on July 29, 2010. Judge Martin Nolan had adjourned the case after hearing evidence two weeks ago and remanded McLoughlin in custody saying "I hope this short lesson will be a salutary one".
Alan Toal, defending, told Judge Nolan: "I can assure you that a lesson has been learned."
Judge Nolan sentenced McLoughlin to four years in prison, which he suspended, telling the man: "I hope that you have learned a lesson that imprisonment is not easy." McLoughlin's co-accused have already been dealt with, receiving up to two years in prison.
The court heard that at around 7pm on the evening of the attack, four men, including McLoughlin, left the Penthouse pub on Sillogue Road and were joined by two other men.
Garda McMorrow said it was still bright at that time. He said the attack lasted no more than 25 seconds and by the time gardai arrived Mr McDonagh was the only person remaining. The victim did not attend hospital and he told gardai he was in fear and "did not want anything to do with the gardai".
During the attack, McLoughlin had a hoodie top pulled over his head but his face was identified on CCTV cameras away from the scene when he pulled his hood off. Garda McMorrow said the attack was in relation to a drug debt.