Teenager avoids jail for impeding murder probe into 2 brothers avoids prison
A Dublin teenager has walked free from court after receiving a suspended sentence for impeding the investigation into a murder committed by his two older brothers after the victim had shot at their home.
Ryan Bradley (18), of Liscarne Gardens, Clondalkin, had carried out the offence after his brothers, Jason (20) and Dean (24), murdered Neill Reilly (36) at Esker Glebe, Lucan, on January 18 last year.
All three were charged with murder, along with their father, Paul Bradley (54), and the four went on trial at the Central Criminal Court earlier this year.
However, towards the end of the trial, Ryan Bradley was found not guilty by direction of the trial judge and pleaded guilty to impeding the investigation of a crime.
His father was acquitted by the jury and the other two accused were convicted. They are now serving life sentences.
The trial heard that Jason Bradley had inflicted seven chop wounds with a sharp weapon on Reilly before Dean Bradley drove over him.
Two witnesses saw him drive over Reilly twice, while another said she saw the car go over him three times.
The court heard that Ryan Bradley had impeded the investigation by assisting his brother, Dean Bradley, in exchanging the car he had used to drive over the deceased.
He also lied to gardai in a voluntary statement he gave on the day, denying any knowledge of what had happened to Reilly.
Speaking on behalf of Ryan Bradley at his sentence hearing earlier this month, Caroline Biggs SC told Mr Justice Paul Coffey that her client was a hard-working man who was a vital part of his father's mechanic business.
Throughout the trial, she said, he would attend court and then go to work. On the day he was acquitted of murder, he arr-ived at work within one hour of being told he could leave court.
Ms Biggs read several references from garage owners in Dublin who said Ryan was hard-working and skilful and they would not hesitate to give him a job if needed.
A community worker who works with young offenders said the acts he committed on the day were out of character.
Ms Biggs also pointed out that her client was close to his two brothers, his best friends, and had now lost them as a result of their convictions for murder.
She said he was 17 at the time and, if he had been charged with impeding an investigation rather than murder, he prob-ably would have been dealt with as a minor.
She told the judge that he was not involved in any way in the feud with Reilly, yet he was suffering as a result of it.
There was no evidence that he would likely offend again and he had no previous convictions.
Mr Justice Coffey said yesterday that it was a matter of happenstance that Ryan Bradley did not come to court when still 17. That would have required the court to have regard to the child's best interests.
He added that the court had a duty of deterrence, but that it must have regard to his youth.
He noted that he would no longer enjoy the friendship and support of his brothers and that he had already spent six weeks in custody.
He took into consideration his previous good character and low risk of re-offending.
He imposed a five-year sentence fully suspended for 10 years on condition he keep the peace, be of good behaviour and have no contact, direct or indirect, with the Reilly family and a named associate of Reilly.
The teenager then walked free from court. Reilly's family left some time later, without making any comment.
In a victim impact statement, which was read to the court earlier this month by prosecuting counsel Paul Murray, they said the murder had left them "frozen in total disbelief".
Ryan Bradley was acquitted on the murder charge by the trial judge on the basis that there was no evidence he got out of Dean Bradley's car or took any part in the assault on Reilly.