Jail for car attack thug after victim intimidation
A judge has said the courts have a responsibility to protect members of the public "sadistically targeted" by gangs who believe they rule the streets.
The remarks were made at Dungannon Magistrates' Court by District Judge John Meehan while sentencing a teenager for an attack followed by an act of "brazen" intimidation after the victim reported the matter to police.
David Mark Cunningham (18), who is from Cookstown but is presently serving a custodial sentence in Hydebank for separate matters, was arrested after he and a group of males attacked a car leaving the McDonald's drive-through in Cookstown on April 6 last year
The driver of the vehicle, who was with his mother and sister at the time, was assaulted by another member of the gang, who also ordered him to get out.
When the victim refused and attempted to drive on, Cunningham launched himself on the bonnet, with his face pressed up against the windscreen.
Having identified one of the main aggressors, the victim reported the incident to police, and although he did not know Cunningham's name he was able to provide a description.
The following day, the victim was in a filling station and having gone to pay for fuel observed Cunningham watching him. The defendant said to him: "What are you doing ringing the cops on our friend yesterday? He's going to get done. You know what happens to touts, don't you? All touts are targets. I know where you live. I know your car."
Cunningham then followed the victim back to his vehicle and stood in front of it, blocking his exit.
The victim was required to manoeuvre around Cunningham in order to leave, then reported the incident to police.
In court a defence barrister accepted his client had found himself in a very serious position. An appeal against a previous sentence for different matters was rejected last month, and there is a further case pending.
Jailing Cunningham for a total of four months, consecutive to his current sentence, Judge Meehan said: "The court has a responsibility to protect people from thuggery by gangs who sadistically target members of the public, with the notion they own the streets."
Addressing Cunningham he added:"You, your mates and indeed your potential victims, need to know there will be consequences."
In relation to the intimidation case, Judge Meehan remarked: "That was a brazen, brazen effort to rule the streets."