20-year sentence for Ballinakill man

A BALLINAKILL man who fled to England to escape prosecution, received a lengthy jail sentence last week when he was finally called to account for his actions at Portlaoise District Court .

However, Daniel Delaney, of 18 Masslough Meadows, and 8 Chapel St - both Ballinakill, spent just a few hours of his 20 month sentence in custody since he was released on €3,000 bail pending an appeal at the end of last Friday’s sitting.

Delaney appeared in court on a string of offences dating back some four years. The charges brought ranged from car thefts, robberies, vandalism and arson, to an attack on a young girl. He faced several charges of driving without insurance, or a driving licence.

The circumstance surrounding some of the crimes was given in evidence by garda. Garda Vincent Dowling said that on August 7, 2005 the accused broke an egg over the face of a neighbour’s child who was aged six at the time. Garda Dowling said Delaney also threatened the child’s mother over reporting the incident to police. On November 2, 2005 the accused entered Ballinakill NS where he caused €1,500 worth of damage to the school’s heating system.

Garda Inspector Tom Mooney gave evidence of charges dating back to 2004 which were brought by Garda Sergeant Brendan Fitzgerald of Mountrath Garda Station. In one incident Insp Mooney said Delaney drove a car at speed “all over Laois and Kildare”. The vehicle, which had been taken, was eventually found burnt out.

Delaney fled to England in 2006 when he was about to face a series of charges in court. The accused was arrested by Gardai a week after returning to Ireland on May 8 this year. Garda Dowling found Delaney driving a car without insurance near his home.

Defence solicitor, Philip Meagher, told Judge Gerard Haughton that his client was a “very troubled and damaged young man” as a result of difficulties in his teens. The solicitor put it to Garda Dowling that Delaney had been a “thorn in the side of garda”. The officer agreed adding “and the people of Ballinakill.”

Mr Meagher said his client went to the UK where he got a job and met an Australian lady who had a “sobering influence”. The solicitor said his accused had now “turned the corner” in his life and could be “a responsible member of society”.

However, the Judge rejected the plea for leniency. “I’d have had some sympathy for the defendant if he came back from England and went straight to the Gardai,” he said.

Instead, said Judge Haughton, the accused was found by garda “up to his old ways”. Judge Haughton imposed a number of concurrent and consecutive jail sentences totalling 20 months. He also banned the accused from driving for 10 years.

“Had it not been for the offences committed this year I would have imposed a suspended sentence but he hasn’t changed,” concluded the judge.

Recognisances in the event of an appeal at €3,000 own bail and an independent surety of €3,000.


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