DPP v Jackson

JudgeMs. Justice Kennedy
Judgment Date04 April 2019
Neutral Citation[2019] IECA 97
Docket Number[276/17]
CourtCourt of Appeal (Ireland)
Date04 April 2019

[2019] IECA 97


Kennedy J.

Birmingham P.

McCarthy J.

Kennedy J.


- AND -

Sentencing – Assault causing serious harm – Severity of sentence – Appellant seeking to appeal against sentence – Whether sentence was unduly severe

Facts: The appellant, Mr Jackson, was convicted of assault causing serious harm contrary to s. 4 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, 1997 and on the 4th December 2017, a sentence of five years’ imprisonment was imposed in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. He appealed to the Court of Appeal against severity of sentence. He submitted that the headline sentence of seven years identified by the trial judge was too high. He submitted that the judge erred in considering the appellant’s intoxication and the fact that the attack was unprovoked as being aggravating factors. He submitted that the judge erred in failing to suspend a portion of the appellant’s sentence, particularly where the judge accepted that the appellant was unlikely to reoffend in the same manner.

Held by the Court that in assessing the gravity of the offence, the judge was mandated to take into account that the attack was without provocation. The Court held that the judge was correct in observing that intoxication is not a defence; a drunken intent is nonetheless an intent and the appellant must bear responsibility for his actions. The judge in placing the pre mitigation figure at seven years, placed the offence in the upper end of the mid-range and the Court could find no error in that respect when it considered the aggravating factors to include the devastating impact on the victim. The Court held that in reducing the sentence by two years to one of five years’ imprisonment, full credit was given for the matters urged in mitigation.

The Court held that it found no error and the appeal would therefore be dismissed.

Appeal dismissed.

JUDGMENT of the Court (ex tempore) delivered on the 4th day of April 2019 by Ms. Justice Kennedy

This is an appeal against severity of sentence. The appellant was convicted of assault causing serious harm contrary to s.4 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, 1997 and on the 4th December 2017, a sentence of five years” imprisonment was imposed in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.


On the 23rd August 2014, following what appears to have been a minor interaction between the appellant and the injured party in the smoking area of a pub, the appellant left the area but returned shortly thereafter and bit off a large portion of the injured party's ear. A witness to the proceedings notified the Gardaí and identified the appellant as the assailant in this case. The appellant, who claimed to have no memory of the event, pleaded not guilty. The matter proceeded to trial and on the 6th November 2017, the appellant was found guilty.

Personal circumstances

The appellant has 24 previous convictions, the majority being for road traffic offences with 3 for possession of controlled drugs and 2 convictions under the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act. At the time of sentencing, the appellant lived with his partner and her daughter and the Court was informed that the appellant's six-year-old daughter was residing with the appellant up to four nights a week because her mother was having housing difficulties. Two work related testimonials were handed into the Court, attesting to the appellant's work record.

The Sentence

In sentencing, the judge highlighted the serious nature of the assault and the grave consequences suffered by the injured party as a result of the appellant's actions. The judge noted that the appellant's attack on the injured party was unprovoked. He observed that the appellant was intoxicated at the time of the offence. He identified a pre mitigation sentence of seven years” imprisonment and having considering the mitigating factors he reduced the sentence to one of 5 years” imprisonment. He classified the mitigation as ‘moderate’ and noted the appellant's work record, his remorse and the unlikelihood of reoffending in the same manner. The judge referred to the appellant's previous convictions and considered them to be largely irrelevant.

Ground of Appeal


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