Men in garda-sword attack jailed for two and three years

Three young men who attacked gardaí with a sword and a car battery and bit, kicked and punched them to try and obstruct an arrest have been sentenced to two and three year prison terms by Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Three young men who attacked gardaí with a sword and a car battery and bit, kicked and punched them to try and obstruct an arrest have been sentenced to two and three year prison terms by Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Stephen Duffy (aged 19), St Ronan's Green, John Bishop (aged 20), St Ronan's Drive, and Stephen Doyle (aged 20), of St Mark's Grove, all Clondalkin all pleaded guilty to violent disorder at Doyle's home on November 12, 2005.

Judge Katherine Delahunt sentenced Duffy to two years, with one year suspended and jailed the other two for three years each suspending one year of Doyle's sentence and 18 months of Bishop's.

Charges of assault on Garda Damien Walsh and Josephine Dowling were taken into account. Gda Dowling, who was struck in the face, described the chaos that erupted after an attempt to arrest Duffy on suspicion of being involved in criminal activity as the "most frightening incident" of her career.

Sergeant John Conway told Mr Luan O Braonain BL, prosecuting, that Duffy was followed by gardaí into Doyle's family home between six and seven o'clock that morning and when Garda Brendan Eustace and Barry Murphy tried to arrest Duffy they were told to "fuck off" and that he hadn't done anything.

They tried to put handcuffs on Duffy but he resisted and a struggle broke out between them and a number of people who were in the house. Gardaí managed to get Duffy into the front garden but they were obstructed and the crowd forcibly brought him back into the house.

Sgt Conway said Doyle then threw a car battery in the direction of the gardaí and threatened to kill them. Two more garda crews arrived and they again went into the house to try and arrest Duffy but, though they received blows, they brought Duffy out into the garden for a second time and handcuffed him, although he continued to struggle.

Sgt Conway said Gda Walsh was then seen on the ground where Doyle was punching and kicking him and a woman was kicking him. Gda Eustace and other gardaí managed to pull Doyle away but they received further blows as they tried to handcuff him.

Bishop was then seen in the garden swinging a samurai sword and threatening gardaí, which caused them to draw their batons.

Gardaí saw Doyle bite Gda Walsh on the ankle but though he drew blood, the resulting would was found to be superficial.

Gda Dowling, who was struck on the side of her face, later described the incident in her victim impact report as the "most frightening experience" of her career.

All three had previous District Court convictions but none of them had any history for violence.

Doyle, who had 17 previous convictions, first came to the attention of gardaí at 13 years old for handling stolen property, Bishop had 40 and Duffy had 19.

Sergeant Conway accepted that no charges were brought against Duffy in relation to the garda's suspicions of him that day.

He further accepted that all three had expressed their remorse and offered their apologies to the gardaí.

He agreed with Mr Cormac Quinn BL, defending Doyle, that he believed that because gardaí had no warrant that day they had no right to be in his home and no right to arrest his friend, which caused him to react the way he did.

He accepted that Doyle said in garda interview that he bit Gda Walsh in an effort to try and free himself because he was being held on the ground by gardaí at the time.

Sgt Conway said he was not aware that Doyle was now homeless and has since developed a heroin addiction.

Mr Quinn told Judge Delahunt that Doyle fractured his skull after falling off a motorbike and though he was advised to attend again at hospital to establish if he suffered any brain damage, he never did.

Ms Martina Baxter BL, defending Duffy, said that her client now acknowledges that he has a drink problem that has caused him too loose his job.

She said he now accepts that this is an issue he has to deal with it and he has not taken any alcohol in the last three weeks, which she said considering his significant abuse of drink, marked a step in the right direction.

Mr Remy Farrell BL, defending Bishop, told Judge Delahunt that his client was in a difficult personal situation at the time. He was moving from "Billy to Jack" having been asked to leave the family home because of his behaviour which led to a difficult and chaotic lifestyle.

He was now back in the family home and has more stability in his life. His girlfriend was due their first baby.

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