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Man who said he was in INLA before bashing man to be sentenced

CourtsBy Sunday World
Mason will be sentenced in the Special Criminal Court this week
Mason will be sentenced in the Special Criminal Court this week

A man who said he was a member of the INLA before assaulting another man at his home in County Louth will be sentenced at the Special Criminal Court this week.

Paul Mason (28), with an address at Ballygarra Park, Garristown, Co Dublin pleaded guilty this month to assaulting Keith Lynch, causing him harm, contrary to the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997. The offence occurred on February 16th, 2014 at The Saltings in Annagassan, Co Louth.

On Friday, Detective Sergeant Peter Cooney, of Dundalk garda station, told prosecuting counsel Caroline Cummings BL that the origin of the case was in early December, 2013, when posters went up around Ardee with a list of names, including Mr Lynch's, and the words "Drug Dealers Out".

The court heard that on the night of the assault Mr Lynch was at home with his partner and 14-month old daughter when three men arrived and confronted him at his front door. 

Mason was one of the men and he said to Mr Lynch, "We are the INLA and your name is on the list."

The men then began to punch and kick Mr Lynch, who told gardai that Mason hit him on his left cheek and that they were laying into him.

The men got him on the ground and were kicking his head, face and eyes, before they left.  

At the time of the assault, Mason was on bail from Galway District Court, having been convicted of theft. 

Sergeant Cooney agreed with Hugh Hartnett SC, defending, that Mason was a "somewhat naive person" who had come under the influence of and was being manipulated by more cynical people.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, with Judge Martin Nolan and Judge Cormac Dunne, remanded Mason in custody until December 2nd, when he will be sentenced.