A YOUNG Limerick man who was sentenced to detention after he helped kidnap two men for a €500,000 ransom has been jailed for six months after he failed to engage with Probation Services after his release.
Jonathan Blackhall (20) with addresses in Johnsgate Village and Grattan Court, had just turned 17 when he began a two and half year sentence at Oberstown Boys detention school for his role in kidnapping Stephen Cusack and Niall Reddan in August 2012.
He was with two armed and masked men when they bundled the two teenagers into a pickup truck outside a house in Castletroy.
Aged 15 at the time, Jonathan Blackhall stayed guard over the two victims as they were taken to a derelict house in Limerick before later being taken to a field near Donoughmore in the early hours of August 20.
He fled the scene and walked towards Limerick before being arrested by Gardaí who were suspicious of a young man dressed in black walking on an unlit country road.
He subsequently pleaded guilty to two charges of false imprisonment and was sentenced to five years detention and supervision with the time to be split equally.
Limerick Circuit Court heard this week that he initially engaged with the Probation Services after his release but in January of this year, due to his “dysfunctional background and chaotic lifestyle” he didn’t bother to turn up to appointments or try to address his addictions.
He also had anger management issues and was recently prosecuted for having a knife in his possession.
Judge Tom O’Donnell heard that the Probation Services sought to have the matter re-entered before the court as a “last resort” and have the teen jailed.
Defending the application, Erin O’Hagan BL said that her client was engaged in “intensely fraught proceedings” in the family law courts and that while he had been given chances in the past, he was seeking to address all matters and overcome the “set backs”.
She added that the pressure on him had led to a panic attack at his home and he was taken to hospital as recently as last week. She asked Judge O’Donnell to consider her client’s young age when he committed the original offence.
However, Judge O’Donnell said that matters before the court were very serious but he would not invoke the full period sought giving credit for the previous early engagement with the Probation officers.
Jonathan Blackhall was subsequently jailed for six months.
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