A 25-year-old mugger has been sentenced to four years in prison, with the final year suspended, for assaulting people while robbing their mobile phones.
Father of two, James Barrett, 46 Beal Srutha, Ballybane, pleaded guilty before Galway Circuit Criminal Court to carrying out three robberies and two serious assaults on young people he attacked at random in the early hours of September 15, 2017.
Garda Pat Foley told the sentence hearing Barrett came upon two young men going into their apartment at St Brendan’s Avenue, Woodquay around 2.30am following a night out and demanded they hand over their wallets and mobile phones.
The young men refused and a struggle ensued during which one of them was assaulted and a mobile phone taken from him.
Barrett ran and went to Eyre Square where he walked through a large congregation of students who had just come out of various nightclubs. He approached a young man who was on his iPhone 5. He was punched in the face when he refused to hand it over and suffered a cut lip and damage to his teeth.
His friend was knocked unconscious when he tried to intervene. He suffered a gash to the back of his head when he hit the pavement and was removed by ambulance to hospital.
Barrett kept moving through the crowd and punched another man in the face too. His phone was stolen from him as he lay unconscious on the ground. He regained consciousness at the scene and declined to go to hospital.
Garda Foley said he located Barrett a short time later, arrested him and took him to Galway Garda Station where he found €85 and an e-cigarette on him during a search.
The e-cigarette belonged to the last victim who had been knocked unconscious in Eyre Square and the €85 matched the amount stolen from two of the other victims.
Barrett admitted his involvement in the spate of muggings but said he had a hazy recollection due to his intoxication from drink and drugs.
None of the victims wished to come to court and all declined to give victim impact statements.
Garda Foley confirmed Barrett had 26 previous convictions including five for similar type assaults and several for thefts and was out on bail at the time of the offences. He had received custodial and suspended sentences in the past.
Defence barrister, Aisling Wall said Barrett received a three-year sentence with one year suspended in Roscommon in November 2017 for assaulting another prisoner and that sentence had just expired.
She said Barrett was sorry for what he did to the victims.
His father had died when he was a teenager and this had an effect on him.
Ms Wall said Barrett had two young children now and he only got to see them a couple of times a year since being in prison.
“He doesn’t want to be going in and out of prison for the rest of his life, like his father was,” Ms Wall added.
Reading probation and psychiatric reports which had been handed into count on Barrett’s behalf, Judge Rory McCabe remarked Barrett was blaming his father and everyone else for his actions but only he could change his behaviour.
He sentenced him to four years with the final year suspended for five years for each of the robbery charges, the sentences to run concurrently.
He imposed concurrent three-year sentences for the assault charges and recommended Barrett receive addiction treatment if he wanted to while serving his sentence.
Titans return to the national league for coming season
TITANS BC is returning to the national league for the upcoming 2020/21 season, one of four new teams that will compete in the Men’s Division 1 this year.
The city side will play in the Northern Conference of the league alongside fellow new sides, Drogheda Wolves and Malahide, along with Ulster University from Belfast; LYIT from Donegal; Sligo All-Stars; and Dublin Lions and Tolka Rovers from Dublin.
That looks to be the easier of the two conferences: Dublin Lions were relegated from the Super League at the end of last season, LYIT finished 5th in Division 1, Sligo finished 8th, Ulster University finished 9th, and Tolka Rovers finished 10th in a 12-team league competition that ran as a single league, rather than split into two conferences.
With four new teams for the coming season – Team Kerry are the 4th new side – Division 1 is returning to a split conference format, and all the heavy-hitters would appear to be in the Southern Conference.
Team Kerry will be joined by fellow Killarney side, St Paul’s, which finished second in the league last season, as well as Cork’s Fr Mathews and IT Carlow, who finished 3rd and 4th respectively.
Limerick Celtics and Limerick Eagles, who finished 6th and 7th, are also in the Southern Conference, as well as last season’s bottom two, WIT Waterford and Portlaoise Panthers.
Titans took a one-year hiatus from the league last season, having endured a torrid 2018/19 campaign when it finished with the worst record in the league, winning just two of its 23 league games to finish bottom of the Northern Conference.
Maree and Moycullen will once again represent Galway in the Men’s Super League, which is also being split into a two-conference format, with six teams in each conference. However, while Titans will be looking north for their main opposition, Maree and Moycullen will be looking in the opposite direction as both have been placed in the South Conference.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
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Group hurling ties to be restricted to supporters of participating teams
NO neutrals will be allowed to attend the opening round of the revamped Galway senior hurling championship which is scheduled to start in little more than a fortnight’s time.
A gathering of 500 – likely to also include the rival players and mentors – will be restricted to each group game, with the participating clubs set to be allocated around 200 tickets each for sale/distribution ahead of the fixture.
A mechanism has still to be sorted for this process, but matches will be restricted to Galway’s three county grounds: Pearse Stadium, Kenny Park, Athenry and Duggan Park, Ballinasloe, along with Loughrea. Killimor was the fifth venue in consideration for hosting senior games, but redevelopment work at the ground has ruled out that prospect.
The full round of 12 group ties will go ahead on the weekend ending July 26, but there will be no double headers. Instead, games at the same venues will be staged four hours apart to allow sanitisation of the various grounds.
Only people with tickets will gain entry to the games and there will be no cash taken at the turnstiles.
Street fight thugs from viral video outside Garda HQ avoid jail
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Two men and a woman who were involved in a ‘staged’ fistfight outside the new Garda HQ in Renmore were warned they will serve prison sentences if they don’t stay off social media for two years.
Suspended sentences were imposed on all three over the incident which was recorded on mobile phone and footage went viral on social media.
The altercation between John Maughan (27), formerly of Rinville Park, Oranmore, who now lives in Dublin, and Patrick Maughan (31), of 122 Laurel Park, Newcastle, was filmed on Patrick Maughan’s phone by his wife, Ellen Maughan (31), who is John Maughan’s sister.
The footage was uploaded that evening to YouTube, where it gained a lot of traction.
Galway District Court heard this week the trio were sitting in their cars when Gardaí arrived at the scene within a matter of minutes.
They were subsequently charged with affray at Dublin Road, Murrough, Renmore, on November 2, 2018, in that all three used or threatened to use violence towards each other, thereby putting other people present in fear for their own safety and the safety of others.
Both men were also charged with breaching the peace.
Garda Pat Casey told the sentence hearing the incident occurred at 2.30pm on the main road between GMIT and the Garda HQ.
He said the men’s cars met, whether by accident or design, at that location where they got out and had a fist fight in the middle of the road.
Judge Mary Fahy asked if the location chosen for the fight, right outside the new Garda HQ, was deliberate.
Garda Casey said the men claimed they met by accident, “but that was where they met”, he added.
“The inference is they did it deliberately outside the Station to make it even better on social media. They are an absolute disgrace to do that in public and to do it in front of their children,” Judge Fahy said.
This is a shortened preview version of this court report. To read the article in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.