DPP v DD

 
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[2011] IECCC 3

THE HIGH COURT

[No. 69 CC/2010]
DPP v D (D)
CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT

Between

THE PEOPLE (AT THE SUIT OF THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS)
Prosecutor
v.
D.D.
Accused

2010/69CC - Sheehan - CCC - 29/7/2011 - 2012 11 3140 2011 16 3886 2011 IECCC 3

NON-FATAL OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON ACT 1997 S3

NON-FATAL OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON ACT 1997 S2

DPP v KELLY 2005 2 IR 321

O'MALLEY SENTENCING LAW AND PRACTICE DUBLIN 2000 403

DPP v M 1994 3 IR 306

DPP v MCGINLEY UNREP CCA MCKECHNIE 11.7.2011

CRIMINAL LAW

Sentence

Manslaughter - Convicted by jury - Matters to be taken into account in sentencing for manslaughter - Plea of guilty to manslaughter proffered but refused by DPP - Whether Court should treat accused as though he had pleaded guilty - Weight to be given to rehabilitation - DPP v Kelly [2004] IECCA 14 [2005] 2 IR 321 considered; DPP v M [1994] 3 IR 306 followed; DPP v McGinley (Unrep, CCA 11/7/2011) followed - 10 year sentence imposed (2010/69 CC - Sheehan J - 29/7/2011) [2011] IECCC 3

People (DPP) v D(D)

Facts The accused was convicted by a majority verdict of the manslaughter of his friend, whose death resulted from a number of blows to the head with a hurley. The Gardai had called to the accused”s home earlier on the night of the incident and observed him to be in a very intoxicated and agitated state. The accused called the Gardai himself the following morning. When arrested, the accused maintained that he believed the deceased had been alive when he left the house in the morning but when he returned she was deceased. He denied he had anything to do with her death. However, the accused subsequently offered to plead guilty to manslaughter and he accepted responsibility for the death of the deceased woman and showed remorse and offered an apology to the deceased”s family and friends. The accused had been out of work since suffering serious back injuries arising out of an accident at work in 2006. The accused had twenty previous convictions in Ireland and three in England relating to assault, malicious damage, criminal damage, drunken driving and public order offences.

Held by Sheehan J. in sentencing the accused to ten years imprisonment: That a sentence of thirteen years imprisonment was the appropriate starting point having regard to the range of penalties applicable to the offence of manslaughter. Whilst a number of the accused”s previous convictions involved violence and were indicative of a propensity for violent behaviour, they were clearly not of the same seriousness as this offence and thereby were deemed not to amount to a progressive loss of mitigation. Having regard to the remorse expressed by the accused and the mitigating factors in this case, namely the accused”s offer to plead guilty to manslaughter before his trial and the issue of rehabilitation for his alcohol abuse the sentence was mitigated to ten years imprisonment.

Mr. Justice Garrett Sheehan
2

[1.1] The accused was convicted by an eleven to one majority verdict of the jury on the 2nd June 2011 of the manslaughter of C.S. The deceased died as a result of receiving a number of blows to the head with a hurley. The deceased was a friend of the accused and in whose home he had been living for some time.

2

[2.1] The accused in this case was charged with the murder of C.S. on the 12th May 2010. The factual circumstances of the case were as follows. At about 4.15am on the morning of the 4th April 2010, the deceased made a call to the gardaí to say that she was locked out of her house and that the accused was in the house and would not let her in. Two members of An Garda Síochána, Garda McGarry and Garda O'Connell, responded to this call and met the deceased outside her house. Garda McGarry eventually gained entry through a window in the front and Garda O'Connell and the deceased gained entry via a door that was, in fact, open at the back. They met the accused in the sitting room and he was in a very intoxicated and agitated state and threatened Garda McGarry. He had consumed a considerable amount of alcohol at the time and had been drinking for some days. When the gardaí left, they were satisfied that the deceased was fine and that everything was alright in the house.

3

[2.2] The deceased subsequently rang a taxi man who she would have been in contact with previously over the phone. The deceased called him on three occasions with the last call being made at approximately 7.30am and all he could glean from the phone call was that the deceased said something about being on the floor and to get her out of there. That was the last known contact the deceased made with anyone.

4

[2.3] At 9.24am the accused called the gardaí and explained that he had come back from the supermarket and that he could not get into the sitting room but that he could see the legs of a person and believed the person was dead. The gardaí arrived at the scene at approximately 9.36am and met the accused at the front door of the house. The gardaí had to use force to gain entry to the kitchen cum sitting room as the deceased's body was blocking the door.

5

[2.4] The deceased was pronounced dead at 9.55am and was subsequently examined by the State pathologist and found to be a female aged fifty-eight, who was five foot nine inches tall, of obese build, fully clothed and was face down. There were ten lacerations to the top of the...

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