DPP v O'Brien

JurisdictionIreland
CourtCourt of Appeal (Ireland)
JudgeMr. Justice Birmingham
Judgment Date24 Nov 2014
Neutral Citation[2014] IECA 36
Docket Number82/12

[2014] IECA 36

THE COURT OF APPEAL

Ryan P.

Birmingham J.

Sheehan J.

82/12

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

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

Facts The appellant sought to appeal against severity of sentence. The appellant had been standing trial on a number of counts including an assault causing serious harm under s.4 and also violent disorder. The prosecution agreed to accept a plea to assault under s.3 instead of s.4. 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 at the heart of the appeal.

The point made on behalf of the appellant was that, in a situation where a s. 3 assault plea was accepted from him, it was not permissible that he should receive a sentence for violent disorder that was 50% greater than the sentence that was imposed on another participant (Mr Nealon), who was required to plead and did plead to the significantly more serious offence of a s. 4 assault. Counsel for the appellant stressed the disparity between how Mr O"Brien was dealt with in Dublin and how Mr Nealon was dealt with in Wicklow.

Held The court concluded that in a situation where four years had been fixed as the appropriate sentence for violent disorder and had been upheld by the Court of Criminal Appeal, that it was appropriate that the sentence for Mr O"Brien would be fixed at the same level.

-In relation to the violent disorder, the court would substitute the sentence of six years with a sentence of four years so as to achieve parity with the sentence that was imposed in Wicklow Circuit Court on Mr Nealon.

Judgment of the Court (ex tempore) delivered on the 24th day of November 2014, by Mr. Justice Birmingham
1

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.

2

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...

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