Wicklow People

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Men with Nazi flag avoid jail sentence

Two men found with racist and nazi paraphernalia have escaped a jail term that was handed down to them in the District Court.Kieran McNeill, of Moate, County Westmeath, was before Wicklow Circuit Court yesterday (Tuesday) appealing the severity of a sentence given by the district court, while David Kavanagh, of Main Street, Wicklow, was contesting his conviction.

Two men found with racist and nazi paraphernalia have escaped a jail term that was handed down to them in the District Court.

Kieran McNeill, of Moate, County Westmeath, was before Wicklow Circuit Court yesterday (Tuesday) appealing the severity of a sentence given by the district court, while David Kavanagh, of Main Street, Wicklow, was contesting his conviction.

Garda O'Sullivan, who at the time was of Roundwood Garda station described to the court what he saw on September 9, 2006 when he was called to a wooded area close to the Wicklow way.

Garda O'Sullivan drove almost a kilometre into the wood to where the camp was, there he found four people including McNeill and Kavanagh around a camp fire with a structure that had three flags hanging from it.

The three flags were shown in court and included the Irish Flag with a black celtic cross and a wolf on the right hand corner of the flag, another flag with a white celtic cross on a black background and a flag with three white seven's on a red background.

McNeill had a shaved head and was wearing military type clothing as were some of the other people there.

A fourth flag was found on the ground and this had a Nazi Swastika symbol on it.

Garda O'Sullivan told the court that he believed some of the flags were associated with White Supremacy Groups.

When questioned as to why they were in the woods the men said they were there for a picnic and to camp.

Kavanagh admitted that the flags were his and when Garda O'Sullivan indicated that he believed the flags to be abusive and threatening, Kavanagh replied, I put them up for fun, for national pride. We are Nationalists'.

The men were charged with distribution or display of a visible representation that is threatening, insulting or abusive and is reckless with breaching the peace.

Kavanagh was at the Circuit Court disputing these charge and told the court that the flags were away from public view and that he would not walk down Bray Main Street with the red flag with the three seven's as he knew that it would be provocative'.

The court was told that this flag has association with a South African White Supremacy group, when asked by the DPP if Kavanagh thought the flag to be connected with racism he replied, I don't think the flag should be considered an offence. As far as I know, it is for white pride'.

Judge Michael O'Shea heard both appeals separately.

McNeill's jail term of two months was suspended with an 18 month ?200 bond of good behaviour and a fine of ?600 was reduced to ?300.

Kavanagh's appeal was turned down by Judge O'Shea but his prison term of two months was also suspended under a bond of ?200 for good behaviour for 18 months and a ?600 fine was reduced to ?200 fine plus ?200 to be paid for witness expenses.