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Peacemaker in halting site dispute spared jail for having slash hook

James Casey
James Casey

A man who acted as a peacemaker in a halting site dispute has been spared jail for having a slash hook during an earlier fight.

James Casey (25) was beaten severely during an attack in the Tallaght halting site. He refused to report this to gardai but decided to take the law into his own hands by arming himself with a slash hook, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.

Casey, formerly of St Aidan's Halting Site, Brookfield, Tallaght pleaded guilty to possession of an article with intent to cause injury or intimidate others at St Aidan’s Halting Site on September 20, 2015.

Judge Melanie Greally told Casey that the only reason she would not jail him was that he adopted the role of peacemaker to diffuse a potentially volatile situation on a later date.

She said this showed that he had learned something from the earlier episode. She noted that he had also moved out of that halting site to get away from the tensions and violence.

She suspended a two-year prison sentence for four years on condition he keep the peace for four years.

Sarah-Jane Callaghan BL, defending, said that her client was attacked and severely beaten on the night and his home was attacked. She said he was unwilling to make a complaint to gardai on the night because he was in fear for his life.

Inspector Raymond Blake told Ms Callaghan that Casey had since been seen acting as a mediator where he was actively trying to quell a dispute.

Casey's three previous convictions include public order offences from Carlow District Court in 2013 and possession of stolen goods from Tallaght District Court.

Inspector Blake told Pieter Le Vert BL, prosecuting, that gardai became aware at 5.30 that morning that an argument was occurring at the St Aidan's halting site. On arrival at the scene they found a large group of men fighting armed with slash hooks, iron bars and metal chains.

When gardai entered the fighting stopped but no one gave any information.

An aggressive and agitated Casey, who was bare chested, said he had been attacked but made no formal complaint. He had a cut on his head and was urged to get medical treatment but did not want to go in the ambulance.

Inspector Blake said he was 30 minutes trying to calm the situation before gardai began to leave. He noticed a man was armed and re-entered the site. Casey discarded an item over a wall. He was arrested and the slash hook was recovered from behind the wall.