A jury took four hours to deliver a not guilty verdict in the case against a man accused of falsely imprisoning his mother’s friend during a violent siege.

The defence put forward by Gavin Ring, aged 27, was to the effect that he was actually a hostage himself and not involved in falsely imprisoning anyone.

Gavin Ring denied a charge of false imprisonment of his mother’s friend, John Joe Nevin.

His brother Bernard Ring, aged 28, admitted this crime and multiple counts related to his violent actions on the night last September and is awaiting sentencing on charges that include false imprisonment, assaulting Mr Nevin, threatening to kill him, producing a knife and having various items in the house such as weapons including a gas cylinder, glass mirror, and a dumbbell weight.

In Gavin Ring’s trial, John Joe Nevin testified at Cork Circuit Criminal Court that he would not have been in the house were it not for the actions of Gavin Ring as well as his brother Bernard. He said he tried to run away but both brothers caught him and dragged him back into the house where he was assaulted.

Ray Boland, defending, said it was only Bernard Ring who was involved in the hostage-taking and other criminal activities.

Mr Boland said Bernard Ring handed the knife to his brother and said to finish them off but that Gavin Ring refused to have anything to do with the knife.

Mr Nevin said he was outside the house gripping onto railings, shouting, “Please, please, please leave me alone”, and would not have been brought back into the house were it not for the fact that he was dragged by both brothers.

In a written statement the operational commander, Supt John Quilter, stated that his information at the time was that Bernard Ring was believed to be holding his mother, brother Gavin, and mother’s friend in the house and that there was very serious concerns for the safety of the hostages.

Rosarie Ring testified that her son Gavin had nothing to do with the situation and it was all Bernard’s doing.

While Gavin Ring was cleared of the false imprisonment charge he was sentenced later yesterday to a one-year jail term for an unrelated crime.

He pleaded guilty to producing a bottle and assaulting a man fishing by the River Lee.

Det Garda Ian Coughlan said the injured party was fishing in an area commonly known as the gravel bank at the back of the Mardyke sports complex when Gavin Ring asked him for a cigarette. The angler did not have a cigarette. Gavin Ring walked away but threw a Budweiser bottle at him striking him on the back between the shoulders. The bottle did not break.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin acceded to an application by Mr Boland to give him credit for having been in remanded in prison on the charges since September.

Judge Ó Donnabháin suggested that one or other charge would have been sufficient in this case and said the Director of Public Prosecutions was merely involved in statistics gathering by bringing the related charges of assault and production of a bottle during a dispute.


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