Two brothers who tried to “butcher” a member of An Garda Síochána “like an animal” have received combined jail sentences totalling 8½ years at the Central Criminal Court.
The court previously heard that Garda Alan Murphy was responding to reports a man having been stabbed in Inchicore, Dublin 8 when he was attacked by the men.
During the incident, Gavin Quinn (28) pinned Garda Murphy to the ground as his brother, Lee Quinn (27), tried to stab the uniformed officer in the eye with a kitchen knife before slashing him across the head, the court heard.
Gavin Quinn, of Tyrone Place, Inchicore, later pleaded guilty to assaulting a peace officer in the execution of his duty at St Vincent’s Street West, Inchicore on March 30th, 2020. Lee Quinn, of Keeper Road, Drimnagh, Dublin, pleaded guilty to attempting to cause serious harm to Garda Murphy on the same date at the same location.
The brothers had originally been due to stand trial for Garda Murphy’s attempted murder, and a jury had been sworn in. But they were re-arraigned at the Central Criminal Court on March 1st after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) accepted their guilty pleas to the lesser charges.
Before delivering the sentence on Monday, Ms Justice Eileen Creedon said Gavin Quinn had become aggressive and threatening to Garda Murphy leading the officer to originally believe that he [Gavin Quinn] may have been the aggressor that day. However, Garda Murphy then became aware that Gavin Quinn was the injured party.
Referring to Lee Quinn, Ms Justice Creedon said he had attempted to stab the officer in the abdomen, connecting with his stab vest, and went on to slash his head with a knife.
The court heard during last month’s sentence hearing that Garda Murphy had “no doubt in his mind” that he would be dead were it not for the assistance of emergency service colleagues from Dublin Fire Brigade, who pulled Lee Quinn away from him moments after he had slashed the garda’s head.
Passing sentence on the brothers, the judge said Garda Murphy had provided a victim impact statement in which he said that he and his colleague had the sole intention of protecting all individuals that day.
“Garda Murphy speaks of the confusion he felt when Gavin Quinn attacked him from behind while Lee Quinn was on top of him. He said that without the Dublin Fire Brigade he might have lost his life,” she continued.
Lee Quinn, said the judge, had been assessed as being at high risk of reoffending and as having a propensity for violence. A probation report confirmed that he was a young man with a distorted view of violence, she stated. The court heard he has previous convictions for making threats to kill and threatening and abusive behaviour in a public place.
The aggravating factors in the case of Lee Quinn included that he had consciously brought a knife to the scene and had used it to attack a clearly uniformed guard. “He went on to stab Garda Murphy in the head and would have stabbed him further if he had not been restrained.”
The judge set a headline sentence of eight years but took into account his guilty plea and reduced the headline sentence to seven years. She suspended a further year on account that he engage with additional services.
Passing sentence on Gavin Quinn, Ms Justice Creedon said he maintained that he had drank a bottle of whisky and consumed 2g of cocaine at the time so he could not recall the details of the offence.
The judge said he had limited insight and awareness of the injuries to the victim and had a capacity for violent offending. Gavin Quinn’s previous convictions are for offences including assault and the production of a knife.
The judge imposed a sentence of four years imprisonment on Gavin Quinn with the final year suspended on account of his guilty plea. She further reduced the three-year sentence by six months on account that he engage with probation services.