DPP v O'Brien


[2014] IECA 36


Ryan P.

Birmingham J.

Sheehan J.


The People at the Suit of the Director of Public Prosecutions
Wesley O'Brien

82/2012 - Ryan Birmingham Sheehan - Court of Appeal - 24/11/2014 - 2014 16 4542 2014 IECA 36

Criminal law - Appeal against severity of sentence – Assault - Violent disorder - Disparity of sentence between co-offenders

Judgment of the Court (ex tempore) delivered on the 24th day of November 2014, by Mr. Justice Birmingham

In this case the appellant Mr. Wesley O'Brien appeals against the severity of a sentence that was imposed upon him in the Circuit Court in Dublin on the 24th February, 2012.


The position is that the appellant had been standing trial on a number of counts including a count of a s. 4 assault, that is to say an assault causing serious harm, and also violent disorder. On the second day of the trial, there was a development in that the prosecution agreed to accept a plea to a s. 3 assault, so ultimately when the matter was dealt with by way of sentence, the sentences that were to be imposed were in respect of the s. 3 assault and the violent disorder. A sentence of three and half years imprisonment was imposed for the s. 3 assault and no appeal was brought against that sentence. A sentence of six years imprisonment was imposed in respect of violent disorder and it is that sentence that is now at the heart of the current appeal.


We will say just a little about the incident in a moment, but it is fair to say that the real issue in this appeal arises from the fact that another person, who had been involved in the incident and in a very serious way as will appear, was dealt with separately, as it happened, in a different Circuit Court in Wicklow. That individual, a Mr. Nealon, was dealt with in respect of a s. 4 assault as distinct from a s. 3 assault and also in respect of a violent disorder. He received a sentence of six years imprisonment in respect of the s. 4 assault and four years for the violent disorder.


The situation then is that as between these two individuals, Mr. Nealon received four years in respect of the violent disorder while the appellant in this case received a six year sentence. Essentially the...

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