Irish amateur boxer who assaulted drug dealer jailed

Aaron Kelly (left)
Aaron Kelly (left)

A member of the Irish amateur international boxing team has been jailed for a year for assaulting a drug dealer during a drugs robbery and threatening to put a bullet in the dealer's mother's head.

Aaron Kelly (20), who boxes in the super heavyweight division, lured the dealer to a location on the premise of buying drugs and assaulted him.

Kelly of Hill View Estate, Ballinteer, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to breaching the peace at Newlands Terrace, Terenure on June 6, 2014 and assault causing harm at Rathdown Avenue, Terenure on July 14, 2014.

Judge Karen O'Connor said she "agonized" over what sentence to give Kelly. She noted that he was a very talented young man with good family support and no addiction issues. She imposed a two and a half year term and suspended the final 18 months.

Judge O'Connor told Kelly "to put his head down and serve his time" and then "put the whole matter behind you".

She took into account seriousness of the offences and the effect they had on the victims. One of the victims, Martina Courtney, said she now felt like a prisoner in her home and had to leave her job.

However Judge O'Connor accepted a defence submission that not all of the suffering visited on Ms Courtney's son, Daragh Dodrell, could be blamed on Kelly as Mr Dodrell had involved himself in drug dealing.

"Mr Dodrell has now seen that this activity can only lead to hurt, pain, upset and a sense of shame for his family," the judge commented.

Fiona Murphy BL, prosecuting, said Kelly called to Ms Courtney's house looking for her son. He became verbally abusive and when Ms Courtney told him to go away he responded: "Ah you have attitude, I love a woman with attitude."

He threatened her that he "had a bullet for your head and a bullet for his knee", referring to Mr Dodrell.

A month later Mr Dodrell was at home when he got a text from someone looking to buy drugs. Mr Dodrell and three friends drove to an agreed location where Kelly and another man approached them. Kelly punched Mr Dodrell, "busting his nose and tooth" and causing him to bleed heavily.

A demand was made for the drugs and a knife was produced which was held to Mr Dodrell. He was made to drive to where the drugs were hidden. Kelly stood on the victim's legs while checking that they were genuine.

In mitigation Padraig Dwyer SC, defending, asked the judge to consider Kelly's efforts to rehabilitate while in prison. He said he had become a "listener" for The Samaritans and had done a course in driver theory.

He also submitted that Kelly, who is attached to the Mount Tallant Boxing Club, had represented Ireland on the European and international stage.

Conor Gallagher