Wicklow People

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Defendant's father in Arklow to seek legal advice

Former Wicklow inter-county footballer Brian Laide was in Arklow on Tuesday evening as he sought to start the appeal process against his son Dermot's conviction and sentencing for his part in the death of Dublin student, Brian Murphy.Mr Laide met local solicitors Edmund and Cathal Louth during his visit to Arklow, while he also spoke with Cllr Nicky Kelly, a friend of the Laide

Laide to appeal his jail sentence

Former Wicklow inter-county footballer Brian Laide was in Arklow on Tuesday evening as he sought to start the appeal process against his son Dermot's conviction and sentencing for his part in the death of Dublin student, Brian Murphy.

Mr Laide met local solicitors Edmund and Cathal Louth during his visit to Arklow, while he also spoke with Cllr Nicky Kelly, a friend of the Laide family who had also been at the Circuit Criminal Court the previous day to see the sentences handed down.

Judge Michael White that day ordered that Dermot Laide serve four years in prison for the manslaughter of Brian Murphy outside the Burlington Hotel in Dublin in August 2000. He also handed down a two-year term for violent disorder, which is to run concurrently.

A further sentence of two years for violent disorder was handed down to Sean Mackey, another defendant who has strong links to Arklow, as his mother Patricia is a native of the town. A third defendant, Desmond Ryan, will serve a nine-month sentence for the same offence. His jail term has been deferred to May 31, to allow him first complete his final exams.

Brian Laide, who lined out with Avondale GAA club and Arklow rugby club as well as the Wicklow senior footballers during his time spent living in the county, had signalled his intention to launch an appeal as soon as the sentences were handed down on Monday.

He labelled the outcome of the case that gripped the nation over the course of seven weeks as 'a serious, serious miscarriage of justice', adding that 'this is not the end'. He also said, 'The Murphy family have asked for the truth, and they did not receive it. We are now asking for the truth, and the truth must win out in the end.'

Mr Laide further stated his view that several witnesses in the lengthy trial 'did not tell the truth'.

Judge Michael White nevertheless declared that there was 'cogent evidence' that Dermot Laide delivered two punches of very considerable force to the head of Brian Murphy, and was part of the group that advanced on him.

He also said it was 'important to emphasise that the prosecution case against Dermot Laide was that he was part of a group assaulting Brian Murphy, without lawful excuse.

'They did not contend that the assault was planned or premeditated, nor did they make the case that it was he who delivered the fatal kick or kicks or the fatal punch or punches. They relied on the principle of joint concert.'

He said he was 'satisfied that his (Laide's) actions contributed substantially to the escalation of this incident, and to Mr Murphy becoming surrounded and defenceless'.

Aggravating factors against Dermot Laide were the death of a young man, the grief of his family, his contribution to the escalation of the dispute and the 'use of violent force completely out of proportion to the situation he faced, when he was not personally threatened.'

He also said there were a number of mitigating factors, including the previous excellent character of Laide and the other defendants, their young age at the time of the offence, the improbability of future criminal behaviour, the damage to their character as a result of publicity, and that the offences were not planned or premeditated.

Taking all these factors into account, he sentenced Dermot Laide to four years for manslaughter and two for violent disorder; Sean Mackey to two years for violent disorder; and Desmond Ryan to nine months for violent disorder.

He refused leave to appeal the sentences of all three defendants, but Counsel for both Dermot Laide and Sean Mackey have stated their appeal to seek it in the Court of Criminal Appeal. Counsel for Desmond Ryan will state his position at a later date.