THREE young men who were involved in what a Judge Carroll Moran described as “a mindless spree of throwing rocks at property and motor cars” around County Limerick have been bound to the peace for three years and warned they are “very likely to go to prison” should they reoffend.
More than €7,000 worth of damage was caused to 26 properties - in areas including Castlemahon, Knockaderry, Ballingarry, Kilmallock, Kilmeedy and Rathkeale - in the early hours of January 14, 2010 and the trio had already been dealt with at the District Court for most of the charges arising from that date.
But the DPP had directed that a more serious charge of endangerment be sent to the Circuit Court.
Lewin Bowring, 22, of Darwood Crescent, Newcastle West; Peter Phillips, 21, of Gurranekeerane, Newcastle West; and Thomas Shanahan, also 21, of Glenview House, Old Barna, had each entered guilty pleas to intentionally or recklessly engaging in conduct which created a substantial risk of death of serious harm at Walshetown, Castlemahon, on January 14, 2010. The three young men were travelling in a car shortly after 5am when a rock was thrown from their vehicle through the windscreen of an oncoming Pallas Foods delivery truck.
Sentencing had been adjourned to allow the three accused pay compensation.
Emmet O’Brien BL, for Mr Bowring, said his client was planning to move to Australia, where his two brothers lived and where he had an offer of work and a visa.
Before the court, Mr O’Brien said, was a young man in relation to whom favourable evidence had been given by Garda Elaine Freemantle for his role in pulling people from a burning building. Mr Bowring had been passing the house in Shanagolden - which was in flames following a gas explosion - in October 2010.
Counsel for Mr Phillips, Laurence Goucher BL, said his client was “deeply ashamed of what he did” and had proffered compensation.
And Brian McInerney BL, for Mr Shanahan, said the events had been “an isolated incident” for his client who now hoped to “move forward in a positive fashion”.
Judge Moran said that when he first heard evidence in the case, he had considered a three-year prison sentence but he had to take into account that the three had no relevant prior convictions and “in the case of Mr Shanahan no previous convictions at all”.
“If I could be satisfied they will not get into trouble again, it is in everybody’s interests not to blight their future careers,” he said. Each accused undertook to be bound to the peace for three years before the judge warned they would “never again get the benefit of the Probation Act or be treated so leniently if you do anything like this again”.