Man involved in group attack on tourists in Temple Bar will have sentence reduced

Garda outside Merchant's Arch
Garda outside Merchant's Arch

A man involved in a group attack on two American tourists in Temple Bar, after they tried to stop the group from interfering with a man on the ground, faces a reduction in his prison sentence following a finding by the Court of Appeal.

Ian Dent (21), of Stanaway Road, Crumlin, Dublin 12 had pleaded not to two counts of violent disorder at Merchant's Arch opposite the Ha'penny Bridge and at nearby Crampton Quay on April 29 2012.

The two American tourists had to travel to Ireland twice for the trial in which Dent was found guilty and subsequently sentenced to five years imprisonment by Mr Justice Patrick McCartan on July 29 2014.

Two other Dublin men were jailed for their roles in the incident along with Dent on that date and a fourth man was jailed separately having plead guilty to the charges.

The Court of Appeal found Dent's five year sentence to be excessive today and a new sentence will be imposed on him on July 9 next.

The court heard that the two American tourists suffered “very significant injuries” as a result of the attack – one suffered a broken arm and the other permanent facial scarring from a broken bottle.

Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Kerida Naidoo BL, said a man had been lying unconscious on the ground in Temple Bar and a group of people involving Dent proceeded to interfere with him.

The two Americans tried to help the man on the ground. A melee ensued and it was accepted by the jury that the fight was started by Dent's group, Mr Naidoo said.

Following that incident, everybody left Temple Bar - the Amercians turned right along the quays towards O'Connell Street and the group of men turned left towards Heuston Station.

At that stage, Mr Naidoo said, the event was over - it would have been "an unpleasant story" for the Americans to tell back home but it would have been the end of it.

However, the group decided to chase the Americans and very significant injuries were inflicted on them, Mr Naidoo said.

Moving an appeal against sentence, Dent's barrister, Padraig Dwyer SC, submitted that his client was not legally responsible for the injuries inflicted on the Americans but got the very same sentence as the man who did.

Counsel said 5 years was “just too much” in all the circumstances.

Mr Dwyer said Dent was a young man at thet time of the offence with no previous convictions in the Circuit Court. He had not come to the gardaí's attention for two years and three months after the incident, was “on the cusp” of starting college three months after he was sentenced and was a promising footballer who had trialed with League of Ireland clubs.

During the incident Dent had tried to hold some individuals back, Mr Dwyer said and the trial judge had failed to take account of that. He had also tried to difuse the situation earlier on in the night.

In a letter written to the three-judge court, Dent began with an apology and maintained that he was never a violent person.

He wrote that the 11 months he has spent in prison have been the “hardest of his life”, Mr Dwyer said.

Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan, who sat with Mr Justice John Edwards and Mr Justice Alan Mahon, found Dent's five year sentence to be excessive.

He was remanded in custody to July 9 next when a new sentence will be imposed on him.