DPP v Berry
 IECCC 4
THE HIGH COURT CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT
2010/56CC - Sheehan - CCC - 21/10/2011 - 2012 11 2947 2011 IECCC 4
DPP v KELLY
O'MALLEY SENTENCING LAW & PRACTICE 2ED 2006 PARA 1015
DPP v L 14.11.2000 IRISH TIMES
R v GARDENER 1994 14 CAR 364
DPP v PRINCS UNREP CCA 31.7.2007 2008/21/4521 2007 IECCA 142
O'MALLEY SENTENCING LAW & PRACTICE 2ED 2006 PP256-257
DPP v AHERNE UNREP CCA 5.7.2004 2004/14/3197
Criminal law - Sentencing - Manslaughter - Provocation - Whether a suspended sentence for manslaughter was appropriate in the circumstances of the case.
[1.1] On the 16th May 2011, Ann Berry pleaded guilty to the unlawful killing of Anthony Riordan on the 5th June 2009. The deceased died as a result of a stab wound to his abdomen inflicted by the accused. According to the report of the State Pathologist, Dr. Marie Cassidy, the fatal injury had been caused by a fairly broad bladed knife with a long blade, the track of the wound being six and a half inches.
[2.1] According to the report of the consultant who had been the accused's treating psychiatrist for many years, it had been the tendency of the accused to readily enter abusive relationships and to tolerate and accept abusive behaviour. She had been in a relationship with the deceased for three to four months and earlier on the day of the killing she had been severely assaulted by him and reported this assault to her doctor and to the gardaí. The gardai advised her to return to the hostel accommodation that had been provided for her following her discharge from a five-month stay as a psychiatric patient in St. Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny. However, she chose instead to visit her sister and at about 11pm that evening she went with her sister and her sister's four children, who ranged in age from about eight to thirteen years of age, to the deceased's apartment where further alcohol was consumed.
[2.2] Various incidents took place between then and the time the deceased was stabbed. Apart from the suggestion that the accused considered the deceased to be some threat to her sister, it would appear from the evidence that the deceased presented no threat to the accused at the time of his death. It is, however, the case that the accused was seriously assaulted on a number of occasions prior to this over the course of their relatively short relationship which was also marked by a miscarriage and the consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol.
[3.1] The accused has ten previous convictions which the Court was told had all occurred in the context of excessive consumption of alcohol. Eight of the convictions were for public order offences; one was for criminal damage and one for the unlawful possession of a knife. Counsel for the prosecution told the Court that it was the view of the Director of Public Prosecutions that the appropriate sentence lay in the lower range bearing in mind the following matters: - that the accused had a well-established psychiatric history; that she expressed remorse immediately: that she went to the assistance of her sister whom she believed the deceased was going to hurt. Counsel also referred the Court to the judgment of Hardiman J. in the Director of Public Prosecutions v. Stephen Kelly.
[3.2] Counsel for the defence submitted four psychiatric reports on behalf of the accused and told the Court that she came from a travelling family. She had got married when she was eighteen and is the mother of nine children ranging in age from seven to twenty-four. She had been separated for eleven years and her husband has custody of the six youngest children who live with him. Counsel also told the Court that a week prior to the killing the accused had attended the hospital for a surgical procedure under general anaesthetic and prior to the present hearing she required urgent surgery in connection with a further health problem. Counsel urged the Court to take into consideration the tragedy and abuse in the accused's life as evidenced by the psychiatric reports which had been presented to the Court.
[3.3] Counsel for the defence also stated that the circumstances of the offence suggested that there was something of the nature of a sudden and complete loss of self-control resulting in a single act of violence that was tragically a fatal...
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