dublin dispute | 

Three men avoid jail after taking part in terrifying assault in front of kids in Tallaght

Glen Keegan (41), Karl Keegan (31) and Thomas McAllister (48) each pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of assault causing harm

Karl Keegan, Thomas McAllister and Glen Keegan

Thomas McAllister

Eimear DoddSunday World

Three men have received suspended sentences for their role in an attack on the adult occupants of a car while children were present on a busy Dublin Road.

Glen Keegan (41), Karl Keegan (31) and Thomas McAllister (48) each pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of assault causing harm at Killinarden Heights, Tallaght to two men on April 25, 2017.

The three men were not directly involved in an ongoing dispute between two particular families, but agreed to take part in this incident, during which children were present. Two motorists’ vehicles were damaged in the incident as the men reversed their car in a bid to escape the attack.

Karl Keegan (31), Kilcarrig Crescent, Fettercairn, Tallaght, Dublin 24, leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court Photo: Collins Courts

Passing sentence today, Judge Pauline Codd acknowledged that the original dispute had settled down and that the occupants in the car had not engaged with the investigation.

She also acknowledged that the mother of the children had expressed the family’s forgiveness and said she does not want to see the three men in prison.

The judge said it was “no doubt a highly barbaric attack” and the three men had no regard for people in the vicinity or their property. She noted the use of balaclavas and weapons during the attack and said it would have been “frightening experience” for members of the public who witnessed it.

Judge Codd sentenced both Karl Keegan and McAllister to four years in prison which she suspended in full on strict conditions, while Glen Keegan got a three and half year suspended term.

She noted that both Karl Keegan and McAllister were on bail at the time of the offence and acknowledged that all three had "made considerable progress in terms of self-rehabilitation” and not come to garda attention since.

The court heard that the men had €6,000 in court as a token of their remorse.

Glen Keegan (41) leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Photo: Collins Courts

Garda Detective David Jennings told John Berry BL, prosecuting, that gardai were called following reports of a violent incident on a busy road between the Killinarden and Knockmore estates in Tallaght at around 9am on the day in question.

A taxi driver told gardaí that he saw a maroon car coming up on the wrong side of the road behind him. The maroon car then crashed into an orange car, that was one vehicle in front of the taxi. Three people wearing balaclavas got out of the maroon car carrying implements and began to strike the orange car, which contained two children.

The orange car attempted to drive away, but there was heavy traffic. It then reversed into the vehicle behind it with such force that this other car was pushed into the taxi.

The men continued their attack on the orange car, which drove to a nearby green area. The two adult occupants of the orange car left the vehicle, while two children remained inside. The adults were followed by their assailants. The maroon car also drove to the green area, then the driver also got out.

There was an altercation, then the four occupants of the maroon car got back into the vehicle and left the scene.

When gardai arrived, the two victims were still in the area, but refused to engage with them. The two men were observed to have superficial cuts to their faces and arms and an ambulance was called. Gardai made arrangements for the two children to be taken home.

The maroon car was later found in a nearby estate. An attempt had been made to set it on fire. Some weapons were found in the boot of the partially-burnt car.

Glen Keegan, of Russell Lane, Jobstown, and McAllister with an address in Rhode, Co. Offaly were arrested by gardai nearby and their clothing seized on drugs search charges. They were re-arrested in relation to this incident at a later stage.

DNA from their victims were found on various items sent for analysis.

Thomas McAllister

Karl Keegan, of Kilcarrig Crescent, Fettercairn, Tallaght, was identified as a suspect by gardai using CCTV from the area. His DNA was found on a balaclava recovered from the maroon car.

Det Jennings said gardai did not identify the fourth man in the maroon car and could not say who had been the driver.

When interviewed by gardai, the three men maintained their right to silence.

No victim impact statements were made.

Karl Keegan has 35 previous convictions including seven public order offences, nine road traffic offences and eight for theft. He was on bail at the time of this incident.

McAllister has 15 previous convictions including five for possession of drugs for sale and supply and nine road traffic offences. He was also on bail at the time of this offence.

Glen Keegan has 28 previous convictions including three for assault and 13 for road traffic offences.

Det Jennings agreed with defence counsel for the three men that they had been courteous in their dealings with gardai. He accepted that their guilty pleas were valuable to the prosecution.

The investigating garda agreed with Sarah Jane O'Callaghan BL, defending McAllister, that her client's previous drugs convictions related to one incident and occurred because he was helping his brother with a drugs debt.

Her client spent six months in hospital following an incident in the weeks after this offence, which was not reported to gardai.

Ms O'Callaghan said her client had brought €4,000 to court as an expression of remorse to convey his “utter disgust” at his involvement.

Det Jennings agreed with Shaun Smyth BL, defending Glen Keegan, that his client is known to gardai in Tallaght, but has not come to any recent attention.

Most of his client's convictions relate to his addiction issues. His client had been “persuaded” to take part in this attack at a late stage, though he was not involved in the underlying dispute, the court heard.

The investigating garda agreed with Seoirse Ó Dúnlaing BL, defending Karl Keegan, that his client had become involved in a “pathetic dispute which spiralled out of control”.

He also agreed that Karl Keegan's upbringing was “chaotic” following the death of his parents and he lived with family members, who had their own addiction issues.

Testimonials and letters from family were handed into the court on behalf of the three men.

Defence counsel for the three men outlined mitigating factors. They also said that all three men had willingly become involved in this dispute and they should not have done this. Family members were also in court to support them.

The court heard that the dispute between two families allegedly related to a small amount of cannabis herb, but tensions settled down after this event.

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