DPP v Harford

JurisdictionIreland
CourtCourt of Appeal (Ireland)
JudgeMs. Justice Finlay Geoghegan
Judgment Date23 Feb 2015
Neutral Citation[2015] IECA 358
Docket Number265/13

[2015] IECA 358

THE COURT OF APPEAL

Finlay Geoghegan J.

265/13

Finlay Geoghegan J.

Peart J.

Hogan J.

The People at the Suit of the Director of Public Prosecutions
Respondent
V
Karl Harford
Appellant

Sentencing – Possession of an explosive substance – Severity of sentence – Appellant seeking to appeal against sentence – Whether sentence was unduly severe

Facts: The appellant, Mr Harford, on the 10th December, 2013, was sentenced by the trial judge to eight years with the last two years suspended. The sentence related to a single offence of possession of an explosive substance contrary to s. 4 of the Explosive Substances Act 1883. The appellant pleaded guilty to the offence on the 19th July, 2013. For the reasons stated in a judgment delivered on the 28th January, 2015, the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal against severity of sentence and directed the preparation of a probation report and Governor's report and an education report and adjourned the sentencing to the 23rd February, 2015.

Held by Finlay Geoghegan J that the offence committed by the appellant fell on the lower end of the mid-range of gravity of such offences. Prior to taking into account mitigating factors, the Court considered that a five year sentence would be the appropriate sentence. Finlay Geoghegan J held that the appellant was entitled to some benefit by way of mitigation for his plea of guilty. In assessing the factors in mitigation, the Court had regard to the appellant's very considerable prior criminal record. Finlay Geoghegan J noted that, notwithstanding the disciplinary reports, the Governor's report, the educational report and probation report indicated that the appellant was attempting to make some positive use of his time in custody towards rehabilitation.

Finlay Geoghegan J held that, provided the appellant addresses his anger management issues whilst in custody and remains free of illicit substances, there is a prospect of rehabilitation and to provide an incentive, the Court suspended the last two years of the five year sentence upon his own bond of €200 and upon the following conditions: 1) that he keep the peace from this date and be of good behaviour for the balance of the five year sentence; 2) that from this date he remain free of all illicit substances for the balance of the five year sentence; and 3) that he attends whilst in custody on this sentence, the alternative to violence course, levels 1 and 2 offered in the prison. Finlay Geoghegan J held that the five years sentence with the last two years suspended was to date from the date upon which the sentence imposed by the trial judge commenced, which was the 10th December, 2013.

Appeal allowed.

Judgment of the Court (ex tempore) delivered on the 23rd day of February 2015, by Ms. Justice Finlay Geoghegan
Ms. Justice Finlay Geoghegan
1

On the 10th December, 2013, the appellant was sentenced by the trial judge to eight years with the last two years suspended. The sentence related to a single offence of possession of an explosive substance contrary to s. 4 of the Explosive Substances Act 1883. The appellant pleaded guilty to the offence on the 19th July, 2013. For the reasons stated in a judgment delivered on the 28th January, 2015, this Court allowed the appeal against severity of sentence and directed the...

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