TWO cousins from Portlaoise, one of whom was involved in the 2008 riots in Mullingar, have been given suspended sentences for keeping a door to door salesman a prisoner in their home for some 40 minutes.
Christopher and Hugh Nevin were charged with false imprisonment, at the home of Christopher Nevin at Woodgrove, Ballyfin Road, Portlaoise, on June 4, 2011. When they appeared before the circuit court in January, evidence was given by Garda Sgt James Phelan that the injured party, an Airtricity salesman, was dragged into the house by the Nevins and received a number of blows.
In his statement to gardaí, the injured party said: “They overpowered me... I pleaded with them to let me go, I was in fear for my life. They held me down and were roaring at me, after this the two of them opened a beer and started laughing and joking at me.”
He said that one of the Nevins kept asking him questions about Airtricity, and when he tried to get to the door he was punched in the ribs and told, “You’re going nowhere.” One of the Nevins also began “jousting” him with a stick. The salesman finally pushed one of the Nevins aside and managed to get out of the house and run to a neighbouring property. By the time the gardaí arrived, neither Nevin was still at the scene.
The sergeant said that when arrested, Christopher Nevin denied the incident and claimed that the salesman had called to his house but he could not recall what happened. Hugh Nevin was more co-operative and had basically blamed Christopher for the offence.
Sgt Phelan told the court that efforts were subsequently made to get a victim impact statement from the salesman, but he could not be found.
Christopher Nevin has 49 previous convictions and received an 18-month suspended sentence for his part in the Traveller riot in Mullingar in 2008.
Hugh Nevin has six previous convictions.
Remarking that both men clearly have difficulties with alcohol, Judge Hunt adjourned the matter in January for a probation report and community service report. When the men appeared back before the judge at last week’s sitting of the circuit court, Judge Hunt said he now deemed the offence too serious for community service and the Nevins deserved custodial sentences.
“I’m getting somewhat fatigued being asked to give people second and third chances,” said the judge. “The only thing saving them from a prison sentence is their guilty plea.”
Describing what happened to the injured party as “a disgrace”, he warned both men that any further offences could land them in prison.
“You’ve run out of road, as far as I’m concerned,” said the judge.
Christopher Nevin was sentenced to three years, suspended for three years on his own bond of €300 to keep the peace and be of good behaviour. He must also remain under probation supervision for 12 months.
Hugh Nevin was sentenced to two years, suspended for two years on his own bond of €300 to keep the peace and be of good behaviour. He must also engage with the probation service for nine months.
Both men were also ordered to pay compensation of €1,800. Christopher Nevin paid the full amount and as the injured party could not be located by the gardaí, the judge ordered that €900 go to the Cuisle Centre and €900 go to the local St Vincent De Paul. Hugh Nevin paid €1,000 and the judge told him to pay the remaining €800 within 12 months.