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Restorative justice programme for man who intimidated TD

A protester who admitted “intimidating” Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae by throwing a bottle at the politician and blocking him at Leinster House has been given a chance to take part in a restorative justice programme.

Dublin District Court heard that the “distressing” incident took place when an anti-government and immigration demonstration “spiralled out of control” on 20 September last year.

Apprentice carpenter Dean Hickson, 22, of Griffith Parade, Finglas East, Dublin, appeared again before Judge Paula Murphy, who heard that Hickson never wanted to attend a political rally again.

About 200 people had held a protest outside Government Buildings as the Dáil resumed following the summer recess.

It led to several arrests, and afterwards, the independent TD condemned the conduct of some protesters as he and an office intern attempted to leave the area.

Hickson had pleaded guilty to intimidating Michael Healy-Rae at Kildare Street Dublin 2 on 20 September, and the court heard he wished to say sorry to the victim

Garda Chloe Rochfort, who investigated the case, told Judge Murphy that Mr Healy-Rae, who was not present for the hearing or required to testify, did not wish to provide a victim impact statement.

Hickson had pleaded guilty to intimidating Michael Healy-Rae at Kildare Street Dublin 2 on 20 September, and the court heard he wished to say sorry to the victim.

In mitigation, his defence solicitor, Donal Quigley, said Hickson, who has no prior criminal convictions, was attending a political protest: “He said he has never been to one before and says he will never be to one again in his life”.

The solicitor told the court, “things spiralled out of control. It was more aggressive than he thought it would be. He is not even that politically minded”.

He added that his client had been forthright and apologised when brought into a garda station.

Garda Rochfort confirmed that happened when she met him at Pearse Street station to charge him.

Judge Murphy said the incident was very distressing for all concerned and a very serious offence for a man with no criminal record.

She ordered the Probation Service to prepare a restorative justice report, and she will consider how she will deal with the case.

“The injured party should be advised of his entitlement to attend as well. These are generally better if the parties engage so that the implications of this type of conduct can be brought home as well,” the judge said.

Hickson, who did not address the court, was remanded on continuing bail to appear again in September for sentencing.

Following a garda investigation, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) directed gardai to charge Hickson in February.

The DPP directed summary disposal in the District Court, which can impose a 12-month sentence and a fine, rather than a trial at the Circuit Court level, which can impose a sentence of up to five years.

Judge Murphy accepted jurisdiction.

The court heard that the accused was among a number of aggressive protesters outside Leinster House” during an anti-government, anti-immigration protest.

At one point, the CCTV footage captured him “throwing a plastic bottle in the direction of Michael Healy-Rae, narrowly missing his head”.

During the investigation, the accused was identified from the video footage “as he physically impeded Michael Healy-Rae from entering Government buildings, which is his place of work”.

The defence was granted an order to be given copies of prosecution evidence, including video footage.

At a preliminary hearing in February, his solicitor told the judge that his client maintained “he did not block anyone going in or out”. However, he later admitted the offence.


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