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Man who claimed British army was after him went on binge before falsely imprisoning woman

Man who claimed British army was after him went on binge before falsely imprisoning woman

An ex-student who binged on drink and drugs for up to three days before falsely imprisoning a woman claiming that the British army was after him, must wait to hear his appeal outcome.

Liam McCann (26), of The Avenue, Meadowfields, Enniscorthy, had pleaded guilty to the false imprisonment of a woman, damage to her house and the unlawful taking of a car at her home near Scarawalsh, Co Wexford on August 11, 2014.

He was sentenced to three years imprisonment with the final six months suspended by Judge Barry Hickson last November.

The Court of Appeal heard today that McCann had come from a party, where he had been drinking and taking drugs for “two or three days”.

His barrister, Colman Cody SC, told the court that because of his “self-induced” state, McCann “harboured delusional beliefs” that the British army and gardaí were after him.

It seemed he was in the house, Mr Cody said, “with a view to evading these particular pursuers”.

Three young children were in the house along with the injured party and at one point McCann put a knife to his own throat

The court heard that he took a car belonging to one of the homeowners and made his getaway before crashing. He continued to make his getaway across fields and a river before he was arrested.

Mr Cody contended that his client should have bene given a wholly suspended sentence having regard to the mitigating factors.

McCann was a first time offender with a previous good character and his guilty plea saved the victims from testifying, Mr Cody said. Furthermore, his remorse for the incident “was not in doubt” and probation services put him at the lowest level of propensity to reoffend.

Mr Cody said it was an “unusual and bizarre set of circumstances”. It was a “singular case” and what emerged from the evidence was that McCann's actions were going to cause as much harm to himself as to others, Mr Cody said.

McCann had already completed a significant amount of third level education. He had completely “lost his way” but had taken “significant, concrete steps” to rehabilitate himself by the time he came up for sentencing.

The Circuit Court judge remarked that with easy access to drugs and unemployment people were able to binge not just for one day but over a number of days, the court heard.

Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Conor O'Doherty BL, said McCann had come from a nearby party where he had been drinking and taking drugs for “two or three days”.

Mr O'Doherty recounted the victim impact statement in which the woman said she 'knew from his behaviour that he wasn't going to rob us' but 'I thought he was mad and that he would stab one of us'.

Mr O'Doherty said the incident had an ongoing impact on the children.

The sentence of three years with six months suspended was proportionate, he submitted.

Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan, who sat with Mr Justice Alan Mahon and Mr Justice John Edwards, said the court would reserve judgment.