A man who pushed a British tourist into the sea at the Tall Ships Festival has been jailed for three years. Thomas Reilly (27) had pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm and criminal damage at Howth Harbour on August 26th, 2011.
The father-of-two, of Enaville Road, North Strand in Dublin 1 was unanimously convicted by a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in January.
Judge Patricia Ryan suspended the last year of a four year prison term and backdated it to August 26th 2012, the date Reilly went into custody.
The victim - Colin Ryder - had been filming the Tall Ships at the West Pier in Howth with his camcorder. Reilly approached and asked Mr. Ryder to film him and then lured him close to the edge of the pier before shoving him into the water.
Mr. Ryder was submerged and sank under a boat and some youths who had been swimming threw a rope and pulled him to safety.
He bruised his hand and suffered from shock afterwards. His camcorder and mobile phone were damaged, but he managed to take a photo of Reilly after the incident.
In a victim impact report, Mr. Ryder said he is nervous in large crowds of people since the assault. It was the second time the case had gone to trial, after a jury failed to agree a verdict last May.
Reilly has 68 previous convictions including assault causing harm, criminal damage, drugs and firearms offences. He has also served time for endangerment, when he tried to run over gardaí in car.
Judge Ryan previously said that Reilly had continued to maintain his innocence and considers the incident a trivial one. Jim McCullough BL, defending, said his client claimed he was not responsible for the incident but has since accepted the verdict of the jury.
Counsel said he is sorry and is very glad there were no lasting injuries or more serious repercussions for the victim.
He said Reilly has drug and alcohol problems and has been in and out of prison since the age of 16.
He said Reilly has been in custody on this and other matters for the last 18 months and has had "time to reflect". He said his client is now completely drug free.