A man jailed for attacking two men in a hotel, after a woman he had been seeing alleged she had been raped, has brought a High Court challenge over a failure to grant him ‘community release’ from prison.
The application has been brought by Sean O’Dea, aged 29, of Woodside, Clontarf, Dublin 3. He is currently in Mountjoy Prison.
In 2016, O’Dea pleaded guilty, at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, to two counts of assault causing harm to two men at the Radisson Hotel, in Dublin city centre, on September 21, 2013.
He was sentenced to three-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.
Earlier this year, the final 18 months of that three-and-a-half year sentence were suspended by the Court of Appeal, on condition that he pay €10,000 to the Peter McVerry Trust within three months.
In his application to the High Court, O’Dea says he has served 14 of the 18 months and has been deemed suitable by the Probation Services for community release in April.
The father of one claims he has been a model prisoner and has done many courses, in areas such as crime awareness, computing skills, and childcare and development.
He is drug-free, and has had no disciplinary issues with prison staff. He has also become a peer mentor, assisting other inmates with their literacy skills.
He had expected to be released from prison within weeks.
However, he claims he has been held back, and not granted release, because of outstanding matters before the courts, which O’Dea denies and intends to contest.
He says he is entitled to the presumption of innocence, as regards any outstanding charge and claims he is being treated unfairly, and unjustly, in relation to his entitlement to community release.
He has brought judicial review proceedings against the governor of Mountjoy Prison, and the Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform.
In a written ruling, Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon said that O’Dea had raised arguable grounds and his case should be heard as soon as possible.
The judge said that time was ticking and if O’Dea was forced to wait till October, when the new legal term begins, justice would be defeated.
The judge adjourned the matter to next week’s sitting of the High Court.
In 2016, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the injured parties were in a hotel room on the morning in question, in the company of a woman O’Dea had been seeing.
The criminal court heard she made a complaint of rape, as a result of an interaction in the hotel room, to Mr O’Dea.
O’Dea, believing she had been raped, confronted the men with a wheel brace.
A struggle ensued and one of the men was struck several times with the wheel brace.
One of the men was left with permanent scarring to his lip and forehead.
Between them, the injured parties sustained a financial loss of €6,000, including €1,000 paid to the hotel for damage to the room.
O’Dea had offered €10,000 in compensation, which was declined by the injured parties.
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