A machete-wielding man who took part in an "animalistic" attack on a family home that left two adults and their two children "terrorised", has lost an appeal against his convictions.
Anthony McNamara (28) of Ard Mor Drive, Tallaght, Dublin was convicted by a Circuit Court jury last year of violent disorder, and criminal damage at Ardmore Park in Tallaght on October 9th, 2018. He was also convicted of "production of an article capable of inflicting serious injury" after his trial heard that he wielded a machete during the violent episode.
Judge Pauline Codd, who presided over the trial and sentenced McNamara to five years and six months in prison, said a gang of men, most of them with their faces covered with balaclavas and hoods, came to the house at around midnight and "terrorised" the occupants. McNamara was part of the gang that broke up a wooden fence and smashed up the outside of the house. One wooden post was put through the front window.
McNamara himself was armed with a machete and at one point he picked up a child’s scooter from the front garden and threw it at the female resident. During the violent melee the woman was hit across the head, but she couldn’t remember who hit her.
McNamara's barrister Keith Spencer BL argued to the Court of Appeal that the trial judge should have dismissed the jury after one of the residents of the house said that she heard another house nearby being "smashed to the ground" shortly before the attack on her own house.
Mr Spencer said this suggested that his client had been engaged in similar, previous criminal conduct and was therefore inadmissible and prejudicial.
Dismissing the appeal, Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy said the evidence given by the witness "was not referable" to McNamara and therefore did not give rise to prejudice. Ms Justice Kennedy sat with President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy.
In a victim-impact statement the woman described the attack as “animalistic” and said, “all I did was stop an argument”. She said as a result of her injuries she couldn’t open her mouth for eight months.
“I have no hate for Anthony, I know he is a product of his environment,” she said. McNamara’s 18 previous convictions include drug-dealing, burglary and throwing of missiles.
Judge Codd said that this was a sinister attack with a significant degree of violence involving the use of a machete and improvised weapons. She said the violence continued even after the homeowners retreated into the house, with the attackers banging on the door.
She said this was “essentially an inter-familial dispute that got out of hand”. She noted McNamara has some drug abuse and anger issues and suspended the final six months of the sentence on condition he keep the peace.