A SIX-YEAR prison sentence was imposed on a young father who threatened to kill at man at knifepoint in his own home.
William Harty, Haggardsgreen, Callan pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary at Skeough on April 4, 2010. Detective Garda Martin Power told the court that the defendant entered the house of the injured party, Mr Knee by forcing in the front door. The defendant had his face covered with a plastic bag and was brandishing a knife. He met the injured party upstairs landing and he forced the injured party back into his bedroom and held him at knifepoint and threatened to cut his neck and kill him. The injured party’s partner was in the house at the time of the incident. The injured party was taken downstairs and forced to hand over a quantity of replica guns and ornamental swords and a quantity of cash.
The court heard that the defendant was arrested in relation to the aggravated burglary in September 28 2010 following a stand off between gardai and the defendant. The defendant climbed onto a roof at Rioch Street and threatened gardai. The stand off lasted for approximately one hour after which the defendant was arrested and brought to Kilkenny Garda Station where he refused to co operate with gardai.
Harty also pleaded guilty to escaping from lawful custody, obstruction and assault at Callan Garda Station on January 31, 2011. The court heard that on the date in question the defendant came into the garda station in relation to an unrelated incident. A struggle ensued between the defendant and his brother and as gardai were dealing with the incident the defendant assaulted a garda before fleeing from the station on foot. Garda Power told the court that the injured party in the aggravated burglary was ‘very nervous’ following his ordeal. “He won’t walk or cycle to Callan as he has to pass the defendant’s house. He is afraid in his own home. His life has been turned inside out and he has been threatened by the offender’s father and that is the subject of a garda investigation. Mr Knee told gardai that the defendant threatened him that if he ever told the gardai or anyone about the incident that there would be another one and that he wouldn’t get out of that one. Following the incident Harty went to ground and could not be located and it is believed that he was in Cork. There was some difficulty in apprehending him for this offence,” said Detective Garda Power.
Prosecuting Barrister Brian O’Shea told the court that the injured party knew the defendant and that the injured party’s son was in a relationship with the defendant’s mother and that the defendant went to the house expecting to find the injured party’s son there. Barrister David Bulbulia told the court that his client was willing to give an undertaking to the court that he would not approach, intimidate or harass the injured party or his girlfriend upon his release. A number of reports, including a psychiatric and probation report was handed into the court.
Defence barrister David Bulbulia told the court that his client was 19 at the time of the aggravated burglary and 20 at the time of his escape from custody. “Despite his young age he has an appalling record and has 38 previous convictions. He celebrated his 18th and 21st birthdays in places of detention and comes from a very large family. It is clear from the reports that there is a definite link between alcohol and substance abuse and offending behaviour. The court can take comfort that the addiction counsellors states that Mr Harty has engaged in a meaningful way and is also dealing with his anger management issues and has been subjected to random urine analysis. The court heard that all the stolen property apart from a small quantity of cash was recovered. The defendant apologised to the injured party in open court and gave an undertaking that he would not contact him on his release.
Judge Alice Doyle said that the aggravated burglary was ‘extremely serious’. “The home of the injured party was violated in the most violent manner and the injured party suffered since psychologically. There were threats to cut his throat and kill the injured party if certain information was not forthcoming. The injured party met the accused, who had his face covered
but luckily the injured party recognised the accused and calmed him down to a certain extent.
“I have to take into account the fact that the accused apologised for his actions and for any threats made. He is only 21 but he has an appalling record. I take into account that he has had a difficult upbringing and that some of his family have been on the wrong side of the law but there are also members of his family who havent been in contact with gardai and that has to be taken into account. He seems to have turned a corner, although it might be a slight one and has engaged in psychological and addiction services in prison. He is a young man and he may change his ways. However this aggravated burglary was extremely violent leaving decimation behind him and there is no doubt that the incident will remain will them for the rest of their lives. He has a string of previous convictions and he doesn’t seem to have learned anything. Everytime he comes back out of a place of detention he drinks, takes drugs and re offends.”
Judge Doyle imposed a six-year sentence and suspended the last year of the sentence on condition that he be of good behaviour and keep the peace for 18 months and engage with the probation services and so any recommended treatment, including residential treatment. She imposed a two-year sentence for escaping from lawful custody and for obstruction. She suspended the final year of the sentence. She ordered that the aggravated burglary sentence and the other two sentences run consecutively meaning that the defendant will serve a total of six years in prison.