A man who took part in an unprovoked attack on a car clamper in which his van was rammed has been jailed for one year.
Stephen McMullen (25) was one of three men in a car who approached the clamper as he worked in Werburgh Street car park in Dublin, threatened him with a knife, threw chips at him and then rammed his van a number of times, causing him to jump a fence to avoid being run over.
McMullen, of Rowlagh Gardens, Clondalkin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to one count of coercion at Werburgh Street, Dublin 8 on February 21st, 2019. He has 93 previous convictions.
Kate Egan BL, prosecuting, told the court that the coercion charge was in relation to the threats and intimidation that were used against the clamper, preventing him from clamping cars.
Garda Thomas Byrne told the court that on the day in question the clamper was working at the car park clamping cars when he realised someone was standing over him with a knife.
This man – a co-accused of McMullen's – threatened the clamper and told him to stop clamping cars before he got into a car containing McMullen and another man. The three men verbally abused the clamper and threw chips at him before driving away.
The court heard the clamper was shaken by the incident but believed the men were gone. However, about 20 seconds later the car returned and drove straight at the man, causing him to jump a fence to avoid being run down. They then rammed his clamper van a number of times before driving away.
In a victim impact statement handed into court, the man said he suffered a number of injuries as a result of the incident, including soft tissue injuries to his shoulder, neck and knees. He said he is now fearful going about his work and he cannot sleep at night.
The court heard the men were arrested after they were identified on CCTV footage from the chip shop they had been in prior to this incident. One man was jailed for two and a half years while the other was jailed for one year.
Seoirse O Dunlaing BL, defending, said his client was a passenger in the car and his level of culpability was therefore somewhat lower than the other two men. He said McMullen wished to apologise to the injured party.
The court heard McMullen had a lengthy history of drug abuse and has since undergone counselling. The majority of his convictions are for road traffic offences. He has no history of violence, defence counsel said.
Handing down sentence on Monday, Judge Pauline Codd said McMullen was “part and parcel of a group who intimidated this man in a serious way”, leaving him in distress going about his job.
She handed down a two-and-a-half year sentence and suspended the final 18 months on a number of conditions.