Woman who witnessed Limerick shooting told she would ‘get it’ if she testified

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

A file photograph of Christopher McCormack who was jailed

A file photograph of Christopher McCormack who was jailed

TWO Dublin men who attempted to intimidate a potential State witness after she made a statement to gardai in relation to a shooting incident near her home have avoided prison sentences.

Leon McNevin, aged 32, of the Steeples, St Laurences Road, Chapelizod and Ciaran Griffin, aged 28 of the Steeples, Ballyfermot had each pleaded to a single charge relating to an incident at Raheen Square, Ballincaurra Weston on April 27, 2016.

A third man – Christopher McCormack, aged 35, who has an address at Chapelizod – was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for his role in the incident.

During a sentencing hearing, Detective Garda Niall Fitzgerald said Samantha O’Callaghan – a mother of two young children – was at home at around 11.15pm when she was alerted to three men outside.

When she went to investigate, one of the men asked “is that Samantha?” before threatening that she and her family would “get it” if she didn’t retract her statement in court.

All three men were wearing dark clothes and hoods in an attempt to disguise their identities. One of the men made a “gesture with his hands” which Ms O’Callaghan felt was a warning.

At the time Ms O’Callaghan was a potential State witness in a criminal investigation into a shooting incident which happened at Raheen Square on September 15, 2015.

Detective Garda Fitzgerald said after making the threats the three men fled after walking along railway tracks having jumped over a boundary wall. However, they were apprehended on the M7 motorway later in the night while returning to Dublin in an Opel Zafira.

Judge Tom O’Donnell was told Christopher McCormack is a brother of David ‘Skull’ McCormack, who had been identified by Ms O’Callaghan as the alleged shooter the previous September.

Earlier this year, the 34-year-old, who has an address at Ballyfermot, Dublin was found not guilty by a jury of charges relating to the (shooting) incident following a trial during which Ms O’Callaghan gave evidence and was the subject of “robust” cross examination.

John O’Sullivan BL said while Ms O’Callaghan would have identified Christopher McCormack “by his voice”, she did not know the other two men and would not have been in a position to identify them.

Imposing sentence, Judge O’Donnell accepted what happened was not pre-planned and had been “conceived at short notice”. He also noted submissions that the actions of Mr Nevin and Mr Griffin amounted to “complete stupidity”.

He said the defendants’ admissions and guilty pleas were significant but commented that their actions were an attempt to “interfere with the justice system”.

He sentenced Christopher McCormack to three years’ imprisonment – backdating the sentence to the date of his arrest.

Leon McNevin and Ciaran Griffin received three year sentences which were suspended in their entirety.