Twelve months jail for ‘cowardly’ attack

By Brendan Grehan

A TALLAGHT man has been jailed for a year for assaulting a 20-year old who later died in hospital. James O’Brien, who has since moved to Baltinglass, punched and kicked Dale Creighton for a minute and a half as he lay on the ground on a footbridge, the Central Criminal Court in Dublin heard on Monday.

Judge Isobel Kennedy sentenced O’Brien to two-and-a-half years in prison, with 18 months suspended, for assaulting Dale Creighton on New Year’s Day, 2014.

O’Brien, aged 22 , with an address at The Mill, Baltinglass, Co Wicklow, had pleaded guilty in June to the assault, causing harm, to Mr Creighton on St Dominic’s Road, Tallaght, on January 1, 2014.

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Seven others in their 20s, one female, six males, are also charged in connection with Mr Creighton’s death. Their trial is due to start in October 2016.

On Monday, Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy told the court that Mr Creighton went to a house party on New Year’s Eve 2013, and left at 3am. He split up from his friends and said his intention was to return to the house party.

The court heard that a larger group of people were at the Plaza, where “considerable alcohol was consumed”.
Allegations were made that somebody stole a woman’s handbag and telephone.

Dale Creighton 2

“They took the view that Mr Creighton had involvement,” the judge said.

Mr Creighton was chased and caught up with on a footbridge, where he was assaulted by people other than O’Brien.

The court heard O’Brien arrived in a car and his actions were seen on CCTV last week in court.
Ms Justice Kennedy said: “It is crystal clear he punched and kicked Mr Creighton while he was lying on the ground.”

The court heard that O’Brien punched Mr Creighton nine times before leaving the scene. Mr Creighton died later in hospital and O’Brien was arrested.

When asked by gardaí about injuries to his hand, O’Brien said he punched two holes in his bedroom door. He also told gardaí that, on the night of the assault, he was driving home to a friend’s house and got out of the car to see what was happening, the court was told.

“Clearly, both answers are inaccurate in the context of the evidence,” Ms Justice Kennedy said, adding that the assault lasted one-and-a-half minutes.

Mr Paul Greene SC, defending, last week expressed remorse on behalf of O’Brien, whose probation report described him as “a moderate risk of re-offending”.

The court was told O’Brien comes from “a stable family background” and has “absented himself from Tallaght in an effort to rehabilitate himself”.

“It was a violent, cowardly attack by Mr O’Brien,” Ms Justice Kennedy said.

In assessing whether his remorse is genuine, Ms Justice Kennedy considered his guilty plea, his remorse, his lack of previous convictions and his efforts to rehabilitate, the court heard.

She also said the genuineness of his remorse is “tempered by the inaccurate information he gave to gardaí regarding his injuries and his presence at the scene”.

Judge Kennedy sentenced O’Brien to two-and-a-half years in prison, with 18 months suspended.

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