NewsCrime Desk

Thug who ran over postman’s foot while stealing van has sentence cut

Thug who ran over postman’s foot while stealing van has sentence cut

A young Meath resident who drove over a postman’s foot while stealing his post van has had his prison sentence cut on appeal.

Brian Reilly (20), of Boyne View, Navan, Co Meath, had pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to reckless endangerment and theft of a vehicle at Rosscourt Grove, Lucan on August 22, 2013.

Judge Patrick McCartan imposed consecutive sentences of five years and four years on the respective counts in March 2015.

He said he was suspending the last three years to encourage Reilly not to re-offend.

Reilly successfully appealed his sentence yesterday in the Court of Appeal.

Giving judgement, Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan said the Court of Appeal had found two difficulties with the approach to this sentence.

The appeal court found the judge failed to identify a headline offence in this case and failed to set out why a consecutive sentence on the same incident was necessary.

Mr Justice Sheehan also said that the Court of Appeal was unable to ascertain what allowance was made for mitigation and Reilly’s guilty plea.

Handing down sentence last March Judge McCartan said that based on Reilly’s criminal record the only possible thing to do was to keep him out of circulation for as long as possible.

Reilly had over 100 previous convictions including 22 for car theft and was already serving a sentence for burglary.

Today Mr Justice Sheehan said it was "not sufficient that the only safe and proper thing to do" was keep Brian Reilly out of circulation.

Despite it being a "very serious case committed by a 17-year-old youth”, the judge said that Reilly was a young man who undoubtedly had a contribution to make to society.

In March 2015 Garda Gerry Smith told Garrett McCormack BL that Gerard Devlin was an independent contractor working for An Post as a postman on the morning of the crime.

He had gotten out of the post van and left the keys in the ignition when Reilly jumped into the front seat and started the engine.

Mr Devlin ran back to the van and tried to knock on the driver’s side window but Reilly went to pull the van forward in a three point turn.

The postman tried to break the glass using a bar code scanning device he was holding and eventually the window smashed. He reached into the van to grab the keys and Reilly reversed sharply, driving over the postman’s foot.

He continued to reverse the van until he hit a wall and this manoeuvre dragged Mr Devlin along the ground, grazing his clothes and scraping him.

Mr Devlin said he was in fear of his life at this point. He managed to jump out of the way of the van when it hit the wall and Reilly drove off.

The van was later located parked up in Dunshaughlin, Co Meath by use of a tracking device inside it. Reilly was arrested nearby by gardaí who matched him to the description given by the victim.

The court heard that Mr Devlin received a bad scar to his arm, his foot was run over and he was out of work for some six weeks.

Mr Justice Sheehan, who sat with Mr Justice Alan Mahon and Mr John Edwards, resentenced Reilly to six years imprisonment with the final eighteen months suspended for reckless endangerment and three years for the theft of a vehicle.

These sentences will run concurrently and it was backdated to September 11 2014.