A Laois man who sparked a riot in the local prison by punching another prisoner was one of two men charged with violent disorder at last week’s court.
Before Portlaoise District Court was John Delaney, 34, with an address at The Caravan, Borris in Ossory roundabout, Borris in Ossory; and Edward O’Reilly, 31, of Windmill, Cashel, Co. Tipperary, both charged with violent disorder.
Sgt JJ Kirby gave evidence that on May 21, 2017, there was a riot at the Midlands Prison and during the incident John Delaney hit another prisoner a punch.
Sgt Kirby said the accused claimed that a number of prisoners were bullying other prisoners.
Sgt Kirby said that the accused started the incident.
The accused had 102 previous convictions, including assaults. He is currently serving a seven-year sentence, with a release date of 2022.
Defence, Mr Barry Fitzgerald said the accused had left school at 16 and developed addiction issues during his teens which led to thefts.
Defence said the accused, who is originally from Tallaght, had spent a significant amount of his adult life in prison.
In relation to this offence, Mr Fitzgerald said that the prison environment is tension packed. The accused would say that a cohort of prisoners were throwing their weight around and the atmosphere got to be tribal, although the accused accepted that his actions were wholly irresponsible.
Defence said the accused had spent two months in the block after this offence.
Judge Staines noted the accused had done a lot of anger management courses and asked him what he had learned.
The accused replied that he had learned different ways to approach things.
Judge Staines said it was a very serious matter, but it had happened two years ago and the accused is already serving a lengthy sentence.
The judge imposed a six-month sentence.
In the case of Edward O’Reilly, Sgt Kirby said the accused had a minor role in the incident, by throwing a plate which hit another prisoner.
Mr Fitzgerald said the accused, a first cousin of the first defendant, had just been released from prison and is on probation.
Defence said that the accused had completed anger management.
Judge Staines said the accused had a lesser role in the incident than his co-accused. She imposed a three-month sentence, suspended for one year on the accused's own bond of €100.