A Kilbarrack man has been given a suspended five-year sentence by Judge Tony Hunt for his part in an arson attack on lorries which caused almost €100,000 worth of damage.
Richard Campbell (aged 21) of Saint Donagh’s Road, was one of a group of four youths who set three trucks on fire on August 25, 2006 in Baldoyle Industrial Estate.
Campbell pleaded guilty to criminal damage at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
One of his accomplices has since died while travelling in a stolen car and another was dealt with in the juvenile system. The fourth co-accused, who cannot be named because he is 17, had his sentence adjourned by Judge Hunt.
Garda Kieran Devine told prosecuting counsel, Ms Tara Burns BL, that the four had first gone to CP Commercials in the industrial park and did €2,000 worth of damage. They smashed windows in five of the vehicle repair company’s trucks, and removed their stereos.
Garda Devine said they then went to Celuplast, which delivers PVC products, where they broke into three trucks, stole their radios and then set fire to them. Two were completely burnt out, while the third was substantially damaged. The cost of the damage was €96,000.
The criminals were seen leaving the area and one of the juveniles was recognised. Gardai searched his house the following day and he admitted lighting a fire. Campbell was arrested a few days later.
"He said he didn’t do any of the burning on the night," said Gda Devine, who outlined his six previous convictions. They included trespass, drug possession, failure to comply with a garda’s direction as well as interference with the mechanics of a car for which he is still performing community service.
Garda Devine agreed with defence counsel, Mr Seán Gillane BL, that Campbell had given the gardai helpful information, and had accepted responsibility although he hadn’t lit any fire.
Mr Gillane submitted that Campbell had left school at 15 without an qualification and then began abusing drugs and alcohol, but was from a decent family, who had never been in trouble with the law.
"He lives with his mother, who is ashamed," he said.
"He was hanging around with a group, where each was ‘egging’ the other on to get involved in street crime but has now disassociated himself from that group after the other young man died travelling in a stolen car."
Judge Hunt said Campbell was on a knife-edge between custody and a non-custodial sentence.
"Significant damage was done. I’ve no doubt their insurance premium has gone up and in the current climate, people could have lost their jobs and livelihoods," he said.
"If he steps out of line once more, for something as simple as a minor road traffic matter, he’s going to jail," Judge Hunt said, suspending the five-year sentence.