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Thug who left tourist brain-damaged gets 12 months more for melee

A young thug who was jailed for leaving a Norwegian tourist with permanent brain damage has received a further 12 month sentence for his role in an earlier violent disorder.

Leonard Finnegan (22) of Comeragh Road, Drimnagh, is serving a partially suspended six-year sentence, which is due to expire this Christmas, for the vicious assault of former school teacher Andreas Nagelsett in March 2007.

Mr Nagelsett was returned to Norway by air ambulance after his head was repeatedly stamped on by a drunken Dublin mob and had been only able to communicate with his young daughter for one hour a day for months after the attack.

Judge Katherine Delahunt had suspended the final year of Finnegan's sentence and that of his co-accused, Christopher Burgess (21), who got seven years for the crime.

Judge Delahunt noted a "marked difference" in Finnegan, who has been attending addiction counselling and spirituality sessions at the Jesuit Centre for Young Adults, compared to when he last came before her at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court two years ago.

She told him she was prepared to accept these "significant changes" and backdated the 12-month sentence to when he pleaded guilty in May last year to the violent disorder.

She acknowledged the serious assault on Mr Nagelsett post-dated the violent disorder in Rathmines in August 2006 when Finnegan was "just starting at that stage on a significant pattern of offending".

She also acknowledged that Finnegan may be the only person who will serve a sentence for the offence, given the State's difficulty in prosecuting other accused who have elected for trial without the injured party's co-operation.

Finnegan pleaded guilty to violent disorder which resulted in an assault of Shane Brennan in the Rathmines area in the early hours of August 11, 2006.

Garda Dylon Brady said Mr Brennan and his friend were subjected to slagging and "childish" threats from Finnegan and three others as they played pool in Goodfellas, Rathmines, after a night out in nearby Tramco.

The hostility continued on the street when all parties were outside smoking and one of Finnegan's gang tried to set fire to Mr Brennan's friend's hair.

Garda Brady said Finnegan "squared up" to Mr Brennan when he tried to dissolve the situation, followed the two friends into the middle of the road and threw a large rock at them, which missed and smashed a nearby phone box.

Finnegan caught up with the two friends further along the street and threw a bottle at Mr Brennan, hitting him in the ankle. Gada Brady said one of Finnegan's companions then began attacking Mr Brennan about the head with a crutch.

Mr Brennan, who received three stitches, later tracked down the four culprits in a patrol car after he reported the incident to gardai.

hnews@herald.ie


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