Former Sinn Féin councillor sees sentence for false imprisonment and threats to kill reduced

Jonathan Dowdall and his father Patrick have both seen their sentences reduced by four years

A former Sinn Fein Councillor and his father have had their sentences for false imprisonment and threatening to kill a man reduced.

Jonathan Dowdall and his father Patrick were jailed for 12 and eight years respectively last summer.


Image: Jonathan Dowdall

It's after they were convicted of falsely imprisoning and threatening to kill Alex Hurley – who Jonathan Dowdall believed was trying to scam him.

The former Sinn Féin councillor invited Mr Hurley to his home in January 2015 three days after they had discussed the possible sale of a motorbike.

The Special Criminal Court was shown a video of the pair torturing Mr Hurley and threatening to feed him 'to the dogs.'

Mr Hurley was tied to a chair and Jonathan Dowdall could be seen waterboarding him on video footage found on a USB stick recovered from his home.

The men were jailed in June 2017.

This morning, the court of Appeal found there were errors in the sentences – and reduced them significantly taking into account three factors.

Namely the guilty pleas, genuine expressions of remorse and the lack of previous convictions – save for one road traffic matter in the case of Jonathan Dowdall.

The Court reduced the 39-year-old’s sentence to 7 years 11 months, while his father Patrick had his sentence halved to four years, also taking into account his ill health.

Both men had portions of their sentences suspended to incentivise rehabilitation.