Man with attempted murder conviction chased people with knife in Dublin

CourtsBy Sunday World
Man with attempted murder conviction chased people with knife in Dublin

A man with a conviction for attempted murder who was caught chasing a group of people while armed with knives has been given a suspended sentence.

Michael Brennan (29) was given the three-year suspended sentence in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today on condition that he enter into a residential treatment program for drug addiction.

Brennan of Almayne Park South, Balgriffin, Dublin pleaded guilty to possession of a knife at Cromcastle Drive, Kilmore on January 7, 2016.

The court previously heard he chased a group of people to a parked car and appeared to be attempting to open the door or stab the car when gardai ordered him to drop the knives.

The incident had arisen out of a family dispute. Brennan was suffering a relapse into drug addiction at the time.

He has 67 previous convictions including attempted murder, intimidation of a witness and threats to kill. He was released in May 2015 from the ten-year attempted murder sentence imposed in 2007.

Defence counsel, Sandra Frayne BL, previously told the court that Brennan had spent most of his adult life in prison and had been released without any support structures in place.

She said the probation report was positive but noted he was at a high risk of re-offending due to his previous record and drug addiction. She said Brennan was now making efforts to put structures in place in relation to issues such as rehabilitation and accommodation.

Judge Melanie Greally accepted that the incident occurred in the midst of a dispute, but said Brennan “has to be particularly careful in terms of how he responds to particular incidents”.

“He is somebody who comes before the court with serious convictions indeed,” she said.

However, Judge Greally said a probation services report showed Brennan had developed insight into what caused him to offend and that his best chance of rehabilitation liay in getting treatment for his drug addiction.

She handed down a three-year sentence but suspended it on a number of conditions, including that he complete a residential drug treatment program and remain under probation service supervision for 18 months.

Garda Finbar Fleming told Monika Leech BL, prosecuting, that gardai received a 999 call saying Brennan was walking up Cromcastle Road armed with two knives. They went to the scene but saw nothing, so drove around to Cromcastle Drive where Brennan's mother lived.

Gda Fleming said they saw a number of people run from the house to a parked car across the road.

These people were being chased by Brennan who had a knife in either hand and his face covered by a scarf. He was at the car either trying to open the door or stab the car when gardai drove up and he was ordered to drop the knives. He threw both knives on the ground and was arrested.

As he was being arrested he was struck with an implement by a female.

Gda Fleming agreed with Sandra Frayne BL, defending, that there had been a dispute between Brennan and a family member. The people in the car were friends of this family member.

Ms Frayne said Brennan had begun abusing drugs as a 12 year old, starting with cannabis and moving onto benzodiazepines at 16, before developing a heroin addiction when he went into prison at 19 years old following his conviction for attempted murder.

She said he had relapsed into drug use at the time of this offence and was extremely apologetic for his actions. She said she was instructed he was now drug free and was anxious to get help.

She said he had never attempted rehabilitation before in his life but now wanted to lead a normal life.

Ms Frayne said he was using his time in custody well and spent a lot of time reading, finding “self help” books of great assistance. He attended the prison school and gym regularly.

She said he felt institutionalised and comfortable in prison but did not want to spend the rest of his life there. He felt left behind by friends who had moved on with their lives and started families.

Ms Frayne said he was easily influenced as a younger man and regretted things he did while trying to fit in.

Fiona Ferguson