Three-man attack with weapons in Portlaoise shop


Three-man attack with weapons in Portlaoise shop

Three Portlaoise men attacked with weapons and badly beat another man in a local shop as part of an ongoing feud, Portlaoise Circuit Court heard.

Martin Ward and William Ward (20), Clonad, Portlaoise, were both charged with assault causing harm, while David Delaney (22), Clonad, Portlaoise, was charged with violent disorder.

Detective Garda Conor Murphy gave evidence that on July 28, 2017, the injured party, Mr Jason Brophy, was walking along the Mountmellick Road in Portlaoise when the three accused ran at him shouting threats.

Two of the accused had weapons, a baseball bat and wooden hockey stick.

The injured party ran into the Campus Filling Station and took refuge behind the counter, but the three accused followed and took turns assaulting him very violently. There were people in the shop at the time and staff members had to get out of the way during the assault, which lasted around two minutes. One staff member got blows to his arm and leg. The three accused men were picked up by the mother of the two Wards after leaving the scene, however Det Murphy said the gardaí were satisfied that she knew nothing about the incident.

The injured party was left semiconscious with blood streaming from his head and mouth and an ambulance was called.

The injured party did not make a complaint to the gardaí and refused to cooperate with the investigation. Det Murphy said he suffered lacerations and bruising, but no substantial injuries.

The shop was damaged in the incident, with repairs needed and staff members off work.

When arrested, David Delaney told the gardaí the attack had arisen out of animosity between two groups of people. The Wards both exercised their right to silence in interview.

Det Murphy said that all three accused men had been involved in various incidents with the injured party, Mr Brophy, and his associates.

The detective told the court that David Delaney had said Mr Brophy “had what was coming to him”.

He said the feud had stopped a month or two after this incident.

David Delaney had ten previous convictions; William and Martin Ward had one previous conviction, which was related to this same feud.

This was a charge of violent disorder at Portlaoise Courthouse.

Judge Keenan Johnson said it was “outrageous, scandalous behaviour” by the three accused, which absolutely warranted prison sentences.

The judge adjourned the cases of Martin Ward and William Ward to March 18 next for a probation report.

He said the offending seemed to be out of character for them and they were very lucky to get away with an assault causing harm charge and not violent disorder.

He directed each man to pay €4,000 compensation to the injured party, with a minimum of €1,000 to be in court on the next date.

“Anyone who engages in this type of behaviour is going to be jailed, no civilised society could tolerate this,” said Judge Johnson.

David Delany was given a six-year sentence, suspended for ten years on a number of conditions.

He was also given a sentence of two years and six months on a separate charge of violent disorder, also suspended.

Conditions of the suspended sentence are that the accused was directed to enter into a peace bond to keep the peace for ten years; he must submit himself to probation supervision for two years; he must engage constructively with psychological services in order to challenge, confront and address his offending attitudes and beliefs; he must pay compensation of €2,000 each to the shop owner and the shop assistant; and he must refrain from alcohol and illicit drugs for the duration of the suspended sentence.