Part-time RTE caterer has violent disorder sentence suspended

He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment in 2013
He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment in 2013

A part-time caterer in RTE, who was jailed for violent disorder at an 18th birthday party, has had his sentence suspended on condition he carry out community service among other undertakings.

Dylan Paul (22), with an address on the Cooley Road, Drimnagh, Dublin 12, had pleaded guilty to violent disorder at Harold's Cross, in the capital and to sending a menacing message in November 2011.

He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment by Judge Pat McCartan on June 27, 2013 and granted bail by the Court of Criminal Appeal, pending an appeal, the following month.

Paul had moved to appeal his sentence today in the Court of Appeal. However, the three-judge court was “concerned” that the sentencing judge effectively put on the table an option that Paul should “name names”.

When Paul declined to do so, a “significant” custodial sentence was imposed, Mr Justice George Birmingham said. It required the Court of Appeal to intervene, to quash the sentence and to resentence Paul as of today's date.

Giving judgment, Mr Justice Birmingham said a family birthday was taking place in the back garden of a family home when a group of young men, including Paul, entered by apparently breaking a gate in the process.

The group proceeded to assault the people at the party by throwing punches and in some cases using hurleys.

There were various descriptions of three, five, six or eight people being involved. One witness placed a hurley in Paul's hand and had him “swinging that hurley”, the judge said.

The next day, a text message was sent to the youngest member of the family which included a threat that unless the recipient ensured that Paul's name was kept out of the matter, he'd be 'chopped up', the judge said.

Paul was arrested and admitted his involvement in the incident, the judge said. He had written a letter of apology to the family and brought €1,000 compensation to court which he succeeded in borrowing from his mother on the strict terms that it would be paid back in full.

Mr Justice Birmingham said the attitude of the family was very responsible and generous. They were prepared to accept the sum on the basis that it would be given to a charity in Africa with whom one of the family members was working at the time.

Mr Justice Birmingham said the violent invasion of a family home and the inflction of injuries on a number of those – perhaps nine people - “just cannot be tolerated”.

The judge said some matters were positive for Paul and others “not at all to his credit”.

He was 18 at the time of the offence and had no previous convictions by the time of sentencing. He was currently employed part-time as a caterer for Baxter Storey in RTE, the court heard, and his employers had expressed satisfaction with his employment.

Not to Paul's credit was his involvement in a drugs offence involving €7,500 worth of cannabis subsequent to his sentencing, the judge said. It was a “very marginal call” as to whether immediate incarceration was required.

Mr Justice Biringham, who sat with Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice Alan Mahon, said the court believed a suspended sentence hanging over Paul's head would act as a “sword of Damocles”.

The court suspended the 18 month sentence on condition he undertake to perform 210 hours community service within 12 months.

He was also requried to pay €1,000 to the Forever Angels UK Charity and to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for the suspended period.

Ruaidhrí Giblin