Man gets jail for role in fatal fight in Dublin
A Dublin man who threatened others with a crutch during a violent fight which left another man dead has been sentenced for two and a half years, with the final year suspended.
Derek O’Driscoll (aged 40) of Croftwood Park, Ballyfermot pleaded guilty to violent disorder and production of an article capable of causing serious injury at Park West road, Ballyfermot on September 27, 2009.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Jason Martin later died from injuries sustained during an altercation with men armed with hatchets. O'Driscoll and his co-accused Michael Byrne (aged 42) were not involved in this part of the fight.
Byrne of Old Tower Cross, Clondalkin, who is currently serving an 18 year term for possession of €6.2m worth of heroin, received a suspended sentence for his role.
Detective Inspector Colm Malley told Garnet Orange BL, prosecuting, that 29 people were arrested and a colossal amount of CCTV footage was examined by gardai investigating the fight.
He said that people had been socialising in Hennigans Pub in Park West when disturbances which began inside moved out into the car park.
He said the disturbance had calmed down when two cars arrived carrying men armed with various weapons including hatchets. During a fight involving these men, a brother of Michael Byrne was wounded in the stomach.
Mr Martin, who was a friend of Michael Byrne, was fatally wounded. The court heard that O'Driscoll, who had been in the pub, joined the fight after these injuries were sustained. He was wielding a crutch in a threatening manner.
O'Driscoll's wife arrived in a car and went to take her husband from the scene to calm things down but gardaí stopped the car.
The court heard that Michael Byrne had arrived at this stage. When O'Driscoll spotted him, the two men ran across the cark park to get at each other.
They began biting, kicking, punching and head butting each other and gardaí had to struggle to separate them.
O'Driscoll has 19 previous convictions. In 2007 he received a three year sentence suspended for five years for assault causing harm and was serving this suspended sentence at the time of this offence.
He was convicted under the Corruption Act in 1998 and served a one year jail term.
Brendan Grehan SC, defending, said that his client was sorry and ashamed of his violent actions and said they were committed in the “white heat of the moment”.
He said O'Driscoll had been a friend of Byrne and was a godfather to one of Byrne's children.
He said his client has been married for ten years to a professional woman and that he plays the role of house husband while she works.
Counsel said his client has taken counselling for drug addiction and anger management and had made great personal strides. He said there was a real hope of him turning a corner in terms of his criminal wrong doing.
Judge Patricia Ryan sentenced O'Driscoll to two and a half years in prison, with the final year suspended, on condition that he keep the peace for three years.
She also instructed that he undergo the supervision of the probation and welfare services for 12 months on his release.
Byrne was found guilty by a jury of affray with O’Driscoll at Parkwest Road, Parkwest, Ballyfermot on September 27, 2009.
He received a suspended two and a half year sentence which is to run after the termination of an 18 year sentence imposed on him in 2010 for a drug dealing offence involving €6.2m worth of heroin.
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