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Man who helped prisoner escape avoids jail term

A 24-YEAR-OLD Dublin man who helped a fugitive escape from custody after a garda was knocked unconscious has been given a six-month suspended sentence.

Jonathan Kavanagh, from Oranmore Close, Ballyfermot, who already had 65 previous criminal convictions, was one of four people who helped in the breakout on March 6, 2012.

Yesterday he pleaded guilty to a charge of taking part in an arrangement with the purpose of enabling another person to escape from custody.

Det Garda Ronan Coffey told Dublin District Court a prisoner was being transferred and had been transported in a patrol car that had stopped at the Ballyfermot Road, Dublin 10.

Four people, including Kavanagh, approached and one of the group opened the door to the garda car and "the prisoner made good his escape".

A garda went after the prisoner but was followed by the four people. The officer apprehended the prisoner but "was in turn set upon" by the youths and knocked unconscious, allowing the prisoner to get away.


The escapee was recaptured two days later and Det Gda Coffey agreed with defence solicitor John Bermingham that Kavanagh had never been charged with assault in connection with the incident and that he had been co-operative.

Judge Michael Walsh heard that the father-of-one had a litany of criminal convictions ranging from public order offences to theft, criminal damage and drug possession and had previously had jail terms handed down to him,

Mr Bermingham asked the judge to note that the defendant had been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a condition characterised by impulsive behaviour, but had not been taking his medication.

The defence lawyer said his client's partner had a child and Kavanagh wanted to put his past behind him. Judge Walsh imposed a six-month sentence but said the man appears to have "turned a corner" and suspended it on condition Kavanagh does not reoffend within the next year.

"The ball is in your court now, to be of good behaviour and no further offending," he warned, adding that the sentence will be activated if Kavanagh does not comply.