DPP v O'Brien

 
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[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

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
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 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.

3

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.

4

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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