DPP v Doolan


[2014] IECA 22


Peart J.

Birmingham J.

Edwards J.

DPP v Doolan
The People at the Suit of the Director of Public Prosecutions
Paul Doolan

247/2014 - Peart Birmingham Edwards - High - 18/12/2014 - 2014 14 3891 2014 IECA 22

Criminal law - Appeal against severity of sentence - Robbery - Sentence of two years imprisonment with one year suspended - Argued the case could and should have been dealt with by community service order or by an entirely suspended sentence - Alleged error in principle to require the appellant to serve a custodial sentence - Parity of sentence - Failure to seek and avail of probation report - Mitigating factors

Mr. Justice Birmingham

In this case the appellant, Mr. Doolan appeals against the severity of a sentence that was imposed on him in the Circuit Court on the 19th November, 2014. On that occasion he received a sentence of two years imprisonment, with one year, the final year, suspended in respect of the offence of robbery. The robbery in question is one that occurred at Hacketts Bookmakers on the 5th December, 2013.


The appeal is put very clearly and firmly on the basis that this is a case that could and should have been dealt with by way of a community service order or by way of an entirely suspended sentence and it is said that the error in principle was to require the appellant to serve a custodial sentence.


There are really two arguments that are made. The first is that there was an insufficient distinction drawn between the appellant's situation and the situation of a coaccused Mr. Fitzpatrick and we will return to Mr. Fitzpatrick's role in this in a moment. The second argument is that the consideration that was given was inadequate because it did not sufficiently address the prospects of dealing with this other than by way of an immediate custodial sentence. In that regard attention is drawn to the fact that the defence at the arraignment stage, when the plea of guilty, which was an early plea, was entered, had sought a probation report and that was an issue that was returned to at the time of the sentencing hearing.


The trial judge did not accede to the application for a probation report and instead listed the matter for sentence at a date when it would not have been possible to have a probation report ready and it is said that the failure to seek and avail of a probation report constituted an error in the sentencing process.


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