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Inmates sentenced to two more years inside for attacking fellow lag

Inmates sentenced to two more years inside for attacking fellow lag

Three prisoners who assaulted a fellow inmate in Mountjoy Prison causing him harm have been sentenced to three years in prison with the final year suspended.

The men – Gary Freeman (27), Barry Gannon (36) and John Redmond (38) – had pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm to prisoner William McDonagh and violent disorder in the yard of Mountjoy Prison on August 28, 2012. A jury found all three men guilty after a 12-day trial  at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

During the trial, the jury was shown CCTV footage of the incident, showing a group of men descending upon Mr McDonagh in the prison yard, pushing him to the ground and kicking him. The brawl ended when several prison officers entered the yard.

Garda Keith Fox, investigating officer, told the court that he first viewed the footage on October 8, 2012 and that a prison officer had clearly identified Freeman, Gannon and Redmond in the footage.

Gda Fox told the court that Gannon, of Swords Road, Avoca House, Dublin , could be seen hitting the injured party several times with a mop head as well as kicking him to the ground.

Redmond, with an address at Wellview Avenue, Blanchardstown, Dublin  was seen kicking and punching Mr McDonagh.

Freeman, of Dominic Street Lower, Dublin, was also seen throwing punches and stamping on the victim's head.

Gda Fox told the court it was not clear from the footage how the fight had started. He said that 13 “shivs” or home-made weapons, including a mop head and a broom handle, were found on the day.

Four other men, seen in the CCTV footage, had also been charged with assault causing harm but had pleaded guilty at an earlier date.

Maurice Coffey BL, prosecuting, said Mr McDonagh was brought to the Mater Hospital after the assault and was left with lacerations to his forehead and back, damage to his right ear and bruising. He received 30 sutures as a result of his injuries and showed his scars to the jury during the trial.

Mr Coffey told the court that Mr McDonagh feels traumatised after the incident, has had to have several physiotherapy treatments and has been on medication for the last 12 months.

Gannon has 132 previous convictions, including robbery, criminal damage, violent behaviour in a garda station and road traffic offences.

Gannon's defence counsel, Luigi Rea BL, said “Mr McDonagh had ended up worse off than Mr Gannon intended”.

Gannon, a father-of-two, formerly of Ballymun, previously worked as a commis chef for five years.

The court heard that Gannon had paid “quite a substantial sum” as a voluntary donation to the Peter McVerry Trust.

Rory Staines BL, defending Redmond, said his client was a chronic heroin addict whose brother had died tragically shortly before this incident.

He has been in Cloverhill since December 18, 2013.

Redmond has 115 previous convictions including robbery, criminal damage and assault causing harm.

Freeman has 113 previous convictions, including theft and the misuse of drugs.

A letter written by Freeman was handed into Judge Patricia Ryan, along with letters from his girlfriend and from the chaplain in Mountjoy.

Further documents from the Ballymun Youth Action Project, Addiction Support and Merchant's Quay Trust testified to Freeman's efforts at rehabilitation.

Judge Ryan said the aggravating factors were that all three accused had committed serious crimes of violence over a period of time and the effect of this on the victim.

She said the mitigating factors included their expressions of remorse and efforts at rehabilitation.

She ordered all three to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for three years, and backdated Freeman's and Gannon's sentence to February 26, 2015.

Redmond's sentence was backdated to December 18, 2013.