Two men who attacked a Ford Focus car in Omagh with baseball bats, during a family feud, have been jailed.
Christy Joyce (24) of Trasna Way, Lisnaskea and David Comulbus Joyce (18) from another address in Trasna Way were jailed for four months each when they appeared before Omagh Magistrates Court.
The court was told they caused damage of £1,437 however District Judge Bernie Kelly noted that neither defendant brought any money to court by way of compensation. A third male appeared before the Youth Court in relation to the incident.
The incident happened on the evening of February 15 outside a shop on the Brookmount Road in Omagh. The court was told the car owner went into the shop and as she exited it, a Vauxhall Nissan pulled up with three masked males on board. The men then proceeded to attack the woman’s car with baseball bats. One of them punched a window of the vehicle. Their car was later stopped and a police search discovered a knuckle duster and bats.
Clothing on persons in the car also matched CCTV footage of the attackers.
The damage to the vehicle included a smashed rear window and broken lights. David Joyce had a previous record for driving without insurance and a licence while Christopher Joyce had no convictions on his record.
A defence solicitor stated that guilty pleas were entered by the defendants on the day the case was set to go to contest. He said they were entitled to credit as they did not go into the witness box and ‘avoid the issues’.
He added that his client, David Joyce was not in a position to pay £700 compensation.
District Judge Bernie Kelly said, “If he is serious about remorse, the most demonstrable way is compensation.”
Defence counsel for Christopher Joyce said he acted on the ‘spur of the moment’ when he saw the vehicle and it was in reaction to an assault the previous day. He added that the defendant moved to Lisnaskea to avoid any further conflict.
Jailing both Joyces for four months, Judge Kelly said, “I have the power to impose two years maximum for criminal damage. Credit is due for pleading ‘guilty’ and the lack of offending in relation to these type of offences.
“What concerns me greatly is this is in the context of a family feud that is ongoing for four years and still continues beyond this incident in court today. In other words, it is not finished and the likelihood of re-offending is high”.
Regarding the failure to provide compensation, the judge said to the co-defendants, “The obvious way to show remorse for the offence is to bring money. You both knew since February the damage you caused to this car and could have started saving even if you did not know the amount.
“You were taking the law into your own hands which elevates the nature of these offences. I don’t entertain you would complete community orders because of concerns expressed by Probation in the pre-sentence report.”
They were granted leave to appeal the sentences however bail was refused.
Judge Kelly pointed out that David Joyce has been arrested for similar offences since the incident and that both men failed to turn up for appointments with probation.
She stated, “My concerns are they will re-offend and not attend court.”
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