A BELFAST man who drove a gang in a taxi to a house in Coalisland to intimidate a witness in a tiger kidnapping case has been jailed for his part in the operation.
During the incident one of one of the gang shouted ‘Óglaigh na hÉireann’ which is used to refer to a Republican paramilitary grouping.
Mark McGrann (31) of Foxes Glen, Dunmurray was sentenced to two years and six months when he appeared before Dungannon Crown Court. He will serve 15 months of the sentence in custody and 15 months on licence.
Three other men who were involved in the incident have already been dealt with by the courts.
They were all convicted of intimidation of the 35-year-old man in order to pervert the course of justice. The gang illegally entered the victim’s home on January 8 last year and warned him not to go to court.
His wife was prevented from using her telephone to summon help and one of the gang said that he knew where the man’s mother and sister lived and shouted the words “Oglaigh na hEireann.”
Sentencing McGrann at Dungannon Crown Court, Her Honour Gemma Loughran told McGrann, “It was not a pleasant incident for your victims. While you did not enter the house you were part of the enterprise,” she said.
“The words ‘Óglaigh na hÉireann’ were mentioned. Everyone was in this together. That you were in the car doesn’t cut much ice as you were involved in this unlawful enterprise.”
Her Honour Judge Loughran also considered a reference on behalf of the defendant from a teacher at Maghaberry Prison who described him as having a “warn personality” and wished him well for the future.
She also noted that McGrann had criminal convictions dating back to when he was 15-years-old, that included assaults and criminal damage.
The judge said, “You obviously have something to contribute to society and you come from a stable family background. There are two sides to your personality.”
She concluded, “You are not seen as posing a threat of serious harm to the public and have shown victim awareness and remorse.”
Three accomplices of McGrann were jailed at previous hearings for their part in the incident.
Francisco McAtamney (44) of Mount Eagles Crescent, Dunmurry was sentenced to two years, one to be served in custody and one on licence.
Stephen Mackin (32) from Northwick Drive, Belfast got a sentence of two years and four months, one year and two months in jail and one year and two months on licence.
Patrick Larkin (47) of Ladbrook Drive, Belfast who received a sentence of two years and four months, will spend 13 months in custody and 15 months on licence.