DPP v Donovan


[2014] IECA 60


Sheehan J.

Finlay Geoghegan J.

Sheehan J.

Hogan J.


The People at the Suit of the Director of Public Prosecutions
Thomas Donovan

Sentencing – Assault causing harm – Undue leniency – Appellant seeking review of sentence – Whether sentence was unduly lenient

Judgment of the Court (ex tempore) delivered on the 15th day of December, 2014, by Mr. Justice Sheehan

This is an application by the Director of Public Prosecutions pursuant to s. 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1993, for a review of the sentence imposed on the respondent at the Circuit Criminal Court in Kilkenny on the 14th May, 2014, for the offence of assault causing harm contrary to s. 3 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997.


On that day the appellant was sentenced to two years imprisonment with the final six months of that sentence suspended on condition that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour for a period of eighteen months post release, during which time he was also to be subject to the directions of the Probation Service.


The appellant was on bail when he pleaded to the offence on the 15th January, 2014. On that date sentence was adjourned to the 14th May, 2014, with the appellant remaining on continuing bail. On the 4th February, 2014, the appellant's bail was revoked as a result of the breach by him of a curfew condition that was part of his bail. On the 11th April, 2014, he received a sentence of nine months imprisonment in respect of a burglary that he had committed in November in 2011.


In the course of submissions on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions counsel submitted that the sentencing judge had failed to sufficiently reflect the gravity of the offences and in particular had failed in the proper exercise of her discretion by refusing to make the sentence for the assault consecutive to the nine month sentence for the burglary offence. These failures had resulted in an unduly lenient sentence.


Counsel for the respondent in opposing the application submitted that the learned trial judge was attempting in the course of her sentence to reconcile the seriousness of the offences with the penal aim of rehabilitation. A written submission by counsel on behalf of the Director to the effect that double counting had occurred has been withdrawn at the oral hearing.


The background to this offence is that on the 15th February, 2013, the respondent attempted to prevent the arrest of his uncle....

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