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Dublin gangster Niall Shebani gets extra time for biting prison officer

Deputy District Judge Chris Holmes was critical of the North’s Public Prosecution Service for not charging him with making a threat to kill in addition to assault and actual bodily harm (ABH).

Niall Shebani

Paul Higgins and Alan Sherry

Knife-wielding Dublin gangster Niall Shebani has been handed an additional two months in jail after he was convicted of biting a prison officer.

Convicting the 37-year-old thug of inflicting actual bodily harm to a prison officer, Deputy District Judge Chris Holmes was critical of the North’s Public Prosecution Service for not charging him with making a threat to kill in addition to assault and actual bodily harm (ABH).

During a video taken from inside Maghaberry prison, where Shebani was being held down and restrained by four prison guards, in amongst expletive-laden abuse that he’s hurling at the officers the gangster can be clearly heard threatening one that “I’ll cut your throat ye little f*****…you’re f****** scumbags, f*** you.”

With Shebani standing in the dock of Lisburn Magistrates Court, DJ Holmes told him “had you been charged with making a threat-to-kill I would have convicted you of that too. You were not charged and I don’t know why, that’s a matter for the prosecution,” said the judge.

While Shebani was convicted of ABH at the end of his hour long contest, he had earlier admitted three counts of common assault on three other officers, two men and a woman, on 1 September last year.

Originally from Dublin but with an address at Gullion View in Meigh, Co. Armagh, Shebani had been handed a five-year sentence at Newry Crown Court that day for an abhorrent street attack where he slashed a man’s face with a knife and kicked him unconscious.

Shebani is a leading member of a notorious cross-border crime gang based in Newry.

One of his associates Steven Patrick Morgan was left with life-long scars after a gang poured acid on his head and groin in a feud-related attack in Newry three weeks ago. Morgan’s arm was also broken in the attack believed to have been carried out by associates of Colin 'Collie' McDonald, who had been shot in an attack linked to the feud in Newry earlier this year.

Days after the acid attack on Morgan, two men with links to Shebani tried to behead a man with a hatchet and seriously injured another man in the same attack.

Shebani associate Jamie Gallogly (27) from Belleeks, South Armagh, has been charged with attempted murder in relation to that attack.

Innocent mechanic Sean Collins was left fighting for his life after the attack.

Sean Collins

Meanwhile in court on Friday, DJ Holmes heard it took almost an hour to get Shebani from the prison transport lorry back to his cell as he was being so abusive and aggressive.

He was able to see two videos recorded on body-worn cameras where Shebani was seen head butting one officer and then being restrained on the ground by four or five prison guards.

In amongst the wrestling and the shouting, officers can be heard swearing too as they order Shebani to “sit down, sit down….what the f*** are you doing.”

It was during this time, the court heard, that Shebani bit an officer on the hand three times, breaking the skin and drawing blood.

A prosecuting lawyer told the judge that given the injuries, the officer’s skin being broken and the setting of where and how the injury was inflicted, “the officer had to go for several blood tests” for a range of diseases, including AIDS and hepatitis. Defence counsel Aaron Thompson said that on the day of the incident, Shebani was “under pressure” having been given “a significant enough sentence” for an offence in October 2019.

In relation to that case, Newry Crown Court heard how the victim was walking along Canal Street in the city when Shebani and two accomplices jumped out of a silver VW Golf and attacked him.

Shebani slashed the victim across the face leaving him with a seven- inch slash wound and while he was prone on the ground, the trio of thugs kicked him unconscious.

As well as the slash to the face, the victim suffered a slash wound to the upper arm, as well as cuts and bruises.

Welcoming the sentences handed down in that case, Detective Sergeant James Johnston said: “These men violently attacked a young man who was walking along the street, causing severe wounds to his face.

“The victim was fortunate their injuries were not more serious. Despite limited investigative opportunities detectives were able to identify the assailants from CCTV images that led to their successful prosecution.

In court on Friday, Mr Thompson was critical of the way the prison staff handled the situation and although he accepted that “they undoubtedly have a difficult enough task,” he said that according to Shebani, “he feels that he was partially the victim in all of this.”

Imposing the two-month prison sentence and ordering it to be served consecutively to the thug’s current sentence, DJ Holmes said in his view the behaviour of the prison officers “seems to be reasonable given what they were faced with.”

“You brought it upon yourself entirely,” the judge told Shebani. “I hope your behaviour has moderated because you still have a lengthy sentence to serve and it will go a lot quicker if you are not consistently on punishment.”

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