A MINOR exchange in relation to the parking of a car prompted a man to call to a house in Cork City, announcing himself as being from the IRA and attacking the householder with a poker.
Detective Superintendent Michael Comyns gave evidence today at the sentencing hearing for 46-year-old Gavin Craven, of 34 Glenfield Avenue, Ballyvolane, Cork.
Craven pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to a charge of assault causing harm to the man at his front door at Liffey Park, Mayfield.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin jailed Craven for three years. That consisted of a sentence of four years with the last year suspended.
The judge categorised it as a crime of almost total lawlessness. “This guy thought he could do what he liked. There is a mishap about a parked car and he arms himself with a poker and goes to the other man’s house. That is lawlessness of entitlement — a bad and dangerous combination. I take a serious view of what happened and things that were said.
“When drink was in and blood was up, it happened with a determination and ferocity… This was completely unprovoked.”
Det Supt Comyns said the background to the assault was that another person called to the injured party’s house at around 11pm on August 1, 2020, and asked him to move his car because he needed to park his own car in an area covered by CCTV and the injured party’s car was in the way.
The injured party said he would do it in the morning as he could not drive due to the consumption of some alcohol at home that evening. The caller alerted Craven, who called to the house 30 minutes later.
“He was very hostile and had an iron bar in his hand. He said, ‘I am Irish Republican Army. You don’t know who you are fucking with. I will have people up to do the house and do the car,’” Det Supt Comyns told the court.
The injured party said the caller “was very threatening. He was like a wild animal grinding his teeth, hitting the fence with the iron bar,” Det Supt. Comyns said.
After some time at the front of the house, Craven ultimately lunged at the householder and struck him with the iron bar in the right elbow. He then repeated the threats about having people up to do the car and do the house.
When gardaí arrived in the area, they found the top of a poker had broken off during the altercation, which was captured on CCTV.
Det Supt Comyns said Craven denied having said he was a member of the IRA but did say he was a Republican.
Defence barrister Emmet Boyle said Craven was intoxicated when he got the call from a man who said the householder had used “unpleasant words” during the exchange about moving the parked car.
The injured party said: “The man who attacked me not only physically assaulted me but also threatened to come back with members of the Irish Republican Army and destroy me, my partner, my partner’s car, and my home.
"I have lived at my home all my life, keep to myself and get on with my neighbours. His threats left me and my partner feeling vulnerable and unsafe to stay at my home.
“Other people think that I should be strong or that I shouldn’t care about what has happened, but that’s easier said than done.
“Mentally, I am not handling this well. This attack has increased my anxiety, causing me to increase my medication which has decreased my quality of life. I’m a private person and this attack has left me feeling helpless, angry, and ashamed.”