Two Dublin men have been jailed for assaulting a man in the course of a feud.
David Reilly (36) and Daryl Howe (23) chased their victim into a house before Reilly slashed the man’s face with a Stanley knife as he tried to hold a door shut against him, while Howe circle to the back of the house to prevent his escape.
Reilly of Croftwood Grove, Ballyfermot, Dublin and Howe of Tay Lane, Rathcoole, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Andrew Smith at Elmdale Park, Ballyfermot on June 30, 2016.
“There was an ongoing feud, for want of a better word, between David Reilly, his associates and the Smith family” the prosecuting garda told Judge Martin Nolan who asked for a reason for the attack.
Defence counsel for Reilly told the court the animosity had since dissipated and Mr Smith had indicated he did not wish for “family man” Reilly to go to jail.
Judge Martin Nolan said it was a very serious offence which left Mr Smith with a scar.
He said he could distinguish between the two men noting the source of the animus was between Reilly and Mr Smith. He said he could accept the younger man, Howe, was a follower.
The judge took into account both men had expressed remorse, both were good fathers and both capable of work.
He noted they had some history of offending but their records were “not too bad.”
He said he had come to the conclusion it was an offence at the higher end of an assault causing harm and could not consider a non custodial sentence.
Judge Nolan imposed a 27 month sentence on Reilly and a 18 month sentence on Howe, taking into account each man had spent nine months in custody on remand.
Sergeant Ronan McDermott told Eoin Lawlor BL, prosecuting, that Mr Smith was cycling his push bike when he saw Reilly’s Toyota land cruiser.
He said Mr Smith knew Reilly and believed it would be better if he left the area, but suspected he would be followed.
Mr Smith went “flying out” of the area on his bike but as he came to Elmdale Park Reilly’s jeep pulled in in front of him and Howe jumped out of the rear. Howe hit Mr Smith on the head with what he believed at the time to be a hammer but CCTV later revealed to be a club or golf club.
Mr Smith put his hand up to protect himself and fell to the ground from his bike. He described himself as “half knocked out” but ran to a house he had spotted with an open front door. He ran inside and tried to slam the door shut but was followed inside by Reilly and Howe.
Mr Smith closed the kitchen door between himself and the men. He said Howe went to the back of the house while Reilly pushed on the kitchen door. Mr Smith said Reilly told him he was going to cut his (Mr Smith’s) sister’s throat.
Reilly got part of his arm through the door and sliced at Mr Smith’s face with a Stanley knife. Mr Smith pretended to call gardai and the men left. Mr Smith was taken to hospital and gardai alerted.
Reilly and Howe were identified on CCTV footage, arrested and interviewed.
Mr Smith sustained a number of lacerations and has been left with a facial scar. He did not make a victim impact statement.
Sgt McDermott told the court that he did not know Reilly to be a drug user and he had no convictions for drug use.
Keith Spencer BL, defending Reilly, said his client and Mr Smith had grown up together, lived in the same area but “for whatever reason over the years” had fallen out with each other.
Sgt McDermott agreed with Mr Spencer that Mr Smith had spoken to defence counsel and wanted the court to be aware that the animosity had since dissipated and gone away.
The garda agreed he was present when Mr Smith had said Reilly was a family man and did not want him to be imprisoned because of the effect it would have on his family. Mr Smith indicated he would accept €4,000 offered by Reilly as a token of remorse.
Sgt McDermott agreed that Reilly had not come to garda attention since and there had been no furtherance of the feud.
Mr Spencer said Reilly was a father of four children with a sporadic work history. He said Reilly had a love of horses and regularly visiting stables in his locale. He said while in custody Reilly had been an exemplary prisoner.
He submitted Reilly had a difficulty with drugs at the time and had since sought help. He said Reilly has recently tested negative for drugs. He said Reilly had acted on the day as no one should act and had committed “an explosive and violent crime.”
He asked the court to take into account Reilly’s early guilty plea, genuine remorse and the sum of money handed over to Mr Smith. He said the “meeting of minds” between Reilly and Mr Smith was also a very relevant factor.
Barry Ward BL, defending Howe, said his client was clearly “running with the hounds” on the day in question and described having a misplaced sense of loyalty.
He said Howe had been using drugs at the time but was now clean and deserved credit for his progress. He said the father of four was a good family man and handed in a work reference.
Mr Ward submitted Howe was now quite different to the person who committed the offence. He said for the first time in a long time his client was on the right track and had made significant progress in his life that many coming before the court never achieve.
Counsel said Howe was not in a position to offer compensation but was remorseful for his actions.