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'Border Fox' tells court Mansfield Jnr hired him to evict employee

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Former INLA man Dessie O’Hare

Former INLA man Dessie O’Hare

Former INLA man Dessie O’Hare

Former INLA man Dessie O'Hare, who was known as the Border Fox, told gardai he was employed by businessman Jim Mansfield Jnr to evict an employee and his family from his home, the Special Criminal Court has heard.

The three-judge court also heard during O'Hare's sentence hearing yesterday that the employee pleaded with him to be given a few days to leave voluntarily but the defendant refused, saying: "Get out right now."

Mr Justice Tony Hunt said that despite O'Hare's counsel having made "a thought-provoking" plea in mitigation, a non-custodial sentence was an "unlikely outcome".

Harm

O'Hare (62), of Slate Rock Road, Newtownhamilton, Co Armagh, admitted assaulting John Roche, causing him harm, at The Towers, Garter Lane, Saggart, on June 9, 2015.

He also pleaded guilty to falsely imprisoning Martin Byrne at Rathcoole and Saggart on the same date.

The non-jury court was asked to take two counts of falsely imprisoning Mr Byrne's wife and son into consideration.

Det Supt Colm O'Malley told prosecuting counsel Shane Costelloe that Mr Byrne was employed by the late James Mansfield Snr for nearly 20 years, providing a security-type arrangement for him and his extended family.

A number of Mr Mansfield Snr's properties were in the process of or had been brought into the National Asset Management Agency (Nama) by the time of his death, the court heard.

James Mansfield Jnr had taken over the running of his father's business at this time.

He was having difficulty reacquiring control of the apartments at The Towers, which was the subject of a dispute between him and other people.

The court heard Mr Byrne and his family lived in two units at The Towers.

Mr Mansfield Jnr contacted Mr Byrne to have a meeting and they went to a business park on June 9, where O'Hare and Declan Duffy were waiting.

At this point, Mr Mansfield Jnr left the room and five other men came in and Mr Byrne was "blocked off" from leaving.

Mr Byrne was told in "no uncertain terms" that he and his family had to vacate The Towers before he was placed into a car by the men.

Three cars drove in convoy to The Towers and Mr Byrne was assaulted by the men in one car until they arrived. O'Hare was in a different car at the time.

Five men including the defendant dragged Mr Roche from his house and assaulted him by kicking and punching him.

A resident saw what was happening and rang 999 and the gardai soon arrived, said Mr Costelloe.

O'Hare and the other six men fled the scene, the court heard.

O'Hare returned to Northern Ireland, but he presented himself at Clondalkin Garda Station with his solicitor in January last year.

Firearm

The three members of the Byrne family have since been placed in the witness protection programme, the court heard.

O'Hare has four previous convictions, including one for possession of a firearm.

The court heard that O'Hare has been working full-time in a tarmac and surfacing business since his release from jail under the Good Friday Agreement.

O'Hare was remanded in custody until April 11, when he will be sentenced

Former Republican paramilitary Duffy was sentenced to six years imprisonment last year after pleading guilty to assaulting John Roche, causing him harm. He also admitted falsely imprisoning Martin Byrne.

Three other men have also been jailed for the attack.