A man who committed around €12,000 worth of graffiti damage in various locations around Dublin, daubing slogans in relation to the death of his brother, has been jailed for one year.
Ray Burke (47) was “obsessed with feelings of injustice” in relation to his brother, who died a number of years ago, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Tuesday.
An open verdict was recorded in his brother's death, which was either by suicide or by jumping into a canal while being pursued by gardaí, Luigi Rea BL, defending, told the court.
In the early hours of August 16th, 2022, Burke daubed graffiti slogans at Clontarf Dart station platform, before he walked up the tracks to Connolly and gratified a parked train carriage.
He carried out further criminal damage by graffitiing shutters of a store on Talbot Street and a window of the GPO on O'Connell St, the court heard.
Burke wrote slogans including: “Tommy Burke was killed by the State” and “Tommy Burke was taken out by the State”, Garda Craig White told Brian Storan BL, prosecuting.
The total cost of the damage was in the region of €12,000, the court heard.
Burke, of no fixed abode in Dublin 1, pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal damage. He was seen on CCTV footage committing all the offences and was arrested shortly afterwards.
He has 24 previous convictions including criminal damage, theft, drugs and public order offences.
Mr Rea said Burke had a history of poly-substance abuse and psychiatric issues, which were exacerbated by his use of intoxicants.
He was “incensed by the possibility his brother's death might have been something other than suicide” and his abuse of crack cocaine and heroin led to a high degree of paranoia, the court heard.
This was not criminal damage in the normal sense, defence counsel submitted.
Sentencing him on Tuesday, Judge Martin Nolan said Burke carried out a lot of malicious damage on the day in question, motivated by “feelings justice wasn't done” in relation to his brother.
He noted Burke, who is already in custody on another matter until the end of June, was a man who “labours under a lot of troubles”.
He handed down a one-year sentence dating from Tuesday, noting this means Burke will spend a bit more time in jail on this matter.
“You have to stop Mr Burke,” the judge told him, to which Burke nodded in agreement.