Bettystown, Meath man Peter Lynch who “drove away with a person on the bonnet of a van” after “spitting on a woman” has been spared prison

Peter Lynch, 52, was involved in an argument with his relative’s neighbors in Dublin before he “panicked” because someone tried to stop him with their vehicle, Dublin District Criminal Court heard at an earlier sentencing hearing.

Lynch then drove his van down the street, leaving a neighbor who had tried to take down his license plate hanging on the hood. That man was clutching the windshield wipers with one hand and holding his phone with the other, the court heard.

Lynch, of Northlands Road, Bettystown, Co Meath, pleaded guilty to one count of assault, one count of producing a pen during an argument, one count of assault and one count of using threatening and abusive behavior in Roseglen Avenue guilty. Kilbarrack, Dublin on October 28, 2020.

He has 24 previous convictions, the last of which dates back to 2004.

Judge Elma Sheahan said at a previous sentencing hearing last year that it was a “serious offence” but there was significant mitigation in Lynch’s favour.

She said the court was demanding “further evidence” of Lynch’s remorse and ordering him to be placed under the supervision of the Probation Board for the next 12 months. Judge Sheahan said she would close the case at that time.

After noting a positive probation report in court today, Judge Sheahan imposed a prison sentence of 22 months, which she suspended in full under strict conditions.

Garda Hazel Johnson told Michael Hourigan BL, who represented the prosecution at the previous hearing, that on the day in question Lynch was leaving a relative’s home in Kilbarrack when a verbal altercation broke out between that family member and his neighbor.

Lynch made a U-turn and returned to his relative’s home, where he became involved in the altercation. During the argument, he knocked over a woman and spat at her.

Another neighbor came out of his house before Lynch told him to mind his own “damn business” and pointed a pen at him.

This man called Gardaí and was standing outside Lynch’s van taking down his registration number when Lynch got into his van. Lynch told gardaí that another vehicle had come down the road and he panicked because “all the people were shouting at him”, the defense said.

He drove a short distance down the road with the man still clinging to his hood. Lynch then stopped his van, the man got out of the hood unharmed and Lynch drove away from the scene of the accident.

He was arrested later that night. The incident was captured on both CCTV and phone footage.

David Perry BL, defending, said Lynch accepted that he had engaged in “unjustified and unacceptable behavior” on the day in question. “He admits his actions were reckless and impulsive,” Mr Perry said.

The court heard he felt his relative had been “unfairly vilified”, which led to him intervening in the dispute.

Mr Perry said Lynch had a difficult childhood and committed crimes in his youth, but over the last 18 years he had turned his life around. He runs two companies and employs a number of people, the court heard.

For a while he studied philosophy at university as a mature student, but was unable to complete his studies for financial reasons.

Judge Sheahan said at the previous hearing that the seriousness of the offense was an aggravating factor. She pointed to several mitigating factors, including Lynch’s early admission of guilt, his professional history and the 19-year gap during which he committed no crimes.

She also ordered Lynch to offer each victim 1,500 euros as a sign of remorse within the next 28 days. If the victims reject the offer, the money should be paid out to the Simon Community. She had also instructed Lynch to stay off the road in question.

Judge Sheahan had ordered Lynch to be under the supervision of the Probation Service for the next 12 months before adjourning the case until today.


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