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Second chance Man previously jailed for manslaughter spared prison after threatening to stab gardai

Gerard O’Riordan was today brought before the Central Criminal Court, which could have revoked the suspended portion of the sentence he was given in 2009 for a killing carried out two years earlier.

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A 37-year-old father-of-one, who spent much of his 20s and 30s in prison for manslaughter, has been spared a return to jail after breaking his bail bond by threatening to kill gardai. The once ‘violent and dangerous’ man has since become a father and attended 24 anger management sessions.

Gerard O’Riordan of Arbutus Grove, Killarney was today brought before the Central Criminal Court, which could have revoked the suspended portion of the sentence he was given in 2009 for a killing carried out two years earlier.

O’Riordan and another man were cleared of murdering James Brazier in Killarney on April 15th, 2007, but were found guilty of his manslaughter.

Their trial had heard that the father-of-three died from multiple stab wounds after being found in bed with the 15-year-old ex-girlfriend of the other killer.

O’Riordan and his co-accused were each given a 14-year sentence. Mr Justice Barry White suspended a portion of both sentences, the final 18 months in O’Riordan’s case.

Detective Sergeant Ernest Henderson today explained that O’Riordan had already been serving a sentence at the time, so his jail term for the manslaughter did not begin immediately.

He was eventually released in June 2019 and entered into a bond at Mountjoy Prison to be of good behaviour for the suspended portion of his sentence.

However, D Sgt Henderson said that he made threats to kill gardai just weeks later.

He explained that gardai had gone to his home after receiving a call about a noisy party. O’Riordan spoke to them out a window, ‘threatening to stab any guard who came into the house’.

“They withdrew,” he said of the officers.

However, they received another call a few hours later and returned to the house. The detective sergeant said that they received a very specific threat this time.

“He’d stab any guard in the neck, who came in,” he testified.

“They took it seriously,” he added, explaining that they were aware of his conviction.

“They withdrew again,” he said.

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The court heard that he has since been convicted of these threats and received a suspended sentence.

He also came to garda attention in August of last year when he went behind the counter of an off-licence and threatened to assault staff. This was after another person was refused service.

He was fined for this trespass and public order offence.

Dean Kelly SC, defending, suggested to the witness that his client had been quite wild in his youth.

“I would say violent and dangerous,” replied the sergeant.

Mr Kelly said that, in the off-licence incident, O’Riordan had taken offence on behalf of ‘a young Traveller man’, who had been refused service. He had waited for gardai to arrive after the owner had called them.

He said that his client had been 23 at the time of the killing and had spent the rest of his 20s and ‘the better years’ of his 30s in prison.

However, almost two years have passed since his release, he has since entered a relationship and had a child just months ago.

“He has said the birth of his child was transformative and he has since attended 24 anger management sessions,” he said. “He finds the anger management enormously helpful.”

Mr Justice Michael White said that these were matters of some concern.

“He’s confronting what has blighted his life,” he said of the anger management sessions, however.

He said he would adjourn the matter for one year to monitor his behaviour. He asked O’Riordan to stand.

“I’ve been lenient as you’ve served a long sentence,” he said. “You’re a man gardai are concerned could still do harm to people. The reason the court is putting it back for a year is you’re confronting that.”

Mr O’Riordan said he understood and agreed to return to court in May of next year.

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