DPP v Cotter


[2014] IECA 40


Ryan P.

Birmingham J.

Sheehan J.

DPP v Cotter
The People at the Suit of the Director of Public Prosecutions
John Cotter

87/2012 - Ryan Birmingham Sheehan - Court of Appeal - 13/11/2014 - 2014 14 3792 2014 IECA 40

Crime & sentencing – Sexual offences – Appeal against sentence – Sexual assaults

Facts: The appellant had been convicted of a number of sexual assault offences in the Circuit Court. As the appellant approached the end of his sentence allowing for remission, he had been released on bail by the Court of Criminal Appeal. He now sought to appeal against his sentence.

Held by Birmingham J, that the Court would grant the appeal. The Court was not satisfied that the Circuit Court had balanced the serious impact of the offences against the present mitigating factors correctly, and would therefore suspend the sentence on the basis that the appellant would be bound to keep the peace for 12 months.


Judgment of the Court (ex tempore) delivered on the 13th day of November 2014 by Mr. Justice Birmingham


1. This is a case where there are some unusual features present and that will be reflected in the procedures the Court proposes to follow. This is an appeal against severity of sentence. The sentence appealed being one of two years imprisonment on each of five charges of sexual assault that were imposed in the Circuit Court on the 28 th February, 2012. The unusual feature is provided by the fact that on the 8 th July, 2013, at a time when the appellant was within a matter of a month or less of completing the sentence allowing for normal remission he was admitted to bail by the predecessor of this Court, the Court of Criminal Appeal.


2. I have said that it was an unusual case, but it was also a very difficult and a very distressing case. It is a case involving very serious offences where there were three injured parties and I will just refer to them by their Christian name. The offences go back to the period of 1992/1993 and L, when the offences occurred was between four and six years age, E in 1991/1992 was seven or eight years of age and C their cousin and also the cousin of the appellant was ten years of age. The offences which occurred while the appellant was in...

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