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Jerusalema dance DJ ‘Frankie Beats’ jailed for harassing garda and hotelier

Frankie Shanley, who had 79 previous convictions including 37 for theft and fraud, pleaded guilty to harassment

Frankie Shanley, aka DJ Frankie Beats

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

Irish DJ Frankie Shanley who got gardaí involved in the viral Jerusalema dance challenge in 2021, has been jailed for harassing a garda and a Co Clare hotelier.

Known as DJ Frankie Beats, Shanley, who had 79 previous convictions including 37 for theft and fraud, pleaded guilty to harassment of Co Kerry garda Marcus Twomey between December 1st, 2018 and September 30th, 2020.

The 47-year-old international DJ, radio broadcaster and convicted conman with an address at 304 The Abbey Bridge Street, Tralee, and formerly of Boyle, County Roscommon – appeared via video link at a Circuit Court sitting in Tralee on Monday.

He also pleaded guilty and to harassing Co Clare hotelier Derek Logue between June and October 2019.

Mr Shanley had made multiple false allegations about Garda Twomey via social media and to RTÉ, as well as to Government Ministers and Garda figures, including the Garda Commissioner, the Court was told.

This had occurred after Garda Twomey noted a sighting of Mr Shanley in Tralee and placed this on the Garda Pulse System which was then “improperly disclosed” to Mr Shanley by an unknown individual.

Judge Staines noted that Garda Twomey had simply been going about his duty.

In his victim-impact statement, Garda Twomey explained that he has been a member of the gardaí for almost 23 years, during which time he has “encountered incidents and scenes of a traumatic nature that have left a lasting impression”.

He said he had “always been able to process and compartmentalise this” but what Mr Shanley had subjected him had been “like a nightmare that would not go away.”

Garda Twomey said Mr Shanley’s campaign affected his home and family life.

The Court heard that Mr Shanley targeted hotelier Derek Logue who had offered him a job as a porter at the Kilkee Bay Hotel.

Mr Shanley carried out work at the hotel during an induction period and when he did not turn up for work, the reasons he offered Mr Logue were initially accepted.

It later transpired that Mr Shanley was on holidays in Greece. When Mr Logue subsequently discovered Mr Shanley’s true identity as he had applied under the name ‘Frankie Regan’, he did not want to continue employing Mr Shanley.

Mr Shanley sent abusive e-mails to Mr Logue and initially demanded €100 for work he had done for the hotel, though this sum increased to €300.

Mr Logue “refused to be bullied”, prosecuting barrister Tom Rice said and he did not pay this money.

The court heard that Mr Logue did not owe the accused any money but Mr Shanley had then made allegations about Mr Logue to other hotels and to The Clare Champion newspaper.

Mr Logue did not provide a victim-impact statement as he felt Mr Shanley’s campaign had “taken enough of a toll on him”, and he suffered “reputational damage by [Mr Shanley’s] false allegations”.

Defence Barrister Rebecca Tracey said there was no excuse for her client’s behaviour.

She said he was sincerely remorseful and wished to convey his apologies to both victims. She said he had acted on a “perceived injustice” and “misinformation” relating to Garda Twomey.

She said her client had been trying to turn his life around and asked Judge Staines to consider, in sentencing, a job offer Mr Shanley has received to work as a radio DJ in Greece.

Judge Staines took into account Mr Shanley’s early guilty plea; a psychologist’s report, including details of a history of depression dating back to age 16; and his remorse.

She sentenced Mr Shanley to three-and-a-half years in prison for harassing Garda Twomey. The last 12 months were suspended for two years on condition Mr Shanley attend psychological services and receive treatment for alcohol issues.

A one-year sentence for harassing Mr Logue will run concurrently with the other sentence. The sentence was backdated to March, 2022, when Mr Shanley was taken into custody. He was ordered not to communicate with his two victims for a period of time, although she added that Mr Shanley “should never contact them”.

Shanley had been credited here for getting the Gardaí involved in the Jerusalema online dance challenge which went viral online during the Covid pandemic.

After the Swiss police performed the challenge, the DJ tweeted the gardaí, saying: “Police officers in Switzerland ‘@fedpolCH decided to do something special for its people in these dark times. Just amazing! @gardainfo will you accept the challenge if enough people retweet this?”

Following this, the challenge took off with groups around the country and around the world taking part.

The challenge involved groups from around the world, particularly emergency services such as the gardaí, appearing on video dancing to the song Jerusalema by South African DJ and record producer Master KG, and nominating the next group they wanted to record it.

In March 2019, Shanley told the Irish Examiner: “I’m lucky, I’m doing what I love, I’m getting a second chance at it, but I’d like to think I’ve warranted that second chance, that it’s not out of sympathy. I’ve worked very hard for the last couple of years, under hard circumstances, which are self-inflicted, but I have stuck with it. I’ve stayed focussed and its paid off.

“I’ve a lot of friends, and a big family, huge family. They’re aware, but they’re not concerned. They can see it in me, that something changed. I’m more articulate with life.”

Shanley, once dubbed ‘Ireland’s greatest conman’, has more than 70 convictions in Ireland for offences including stealing cars and electronic equipment, and served more than three years in jail from 2011 to 2014.

He would pose as a garda, a radio DJ or TV producer to con people, and came to national attention when he was the subject of three episodes of Liveline, and even rang and spoke to Joe Duffy live on air while on the run in 2006.

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