Lawlor v DPP

CourtCourt of Appeal (Ireland)
JudgeMr. Justice Birmingham
Judgment Date22 January 2016
Neutral Citation[2016] IECA 23
Date22 January 2016
Docket Number205/15

[2016] IECA 23


Birmingham J.


Birmingham J.

Sheehan J.

Mahon J.

The People at the Suit of the Director of Public Prosecutions
Robert Lawlor

Criminal Law – S. 18 Of The Criminal Justice (Theft And Fraud Offences) Act – Severity Of Sentence – Guilty Plea

Facts: This case was an appeal against the severity of sentence imposed in respect of the possession of stolen property contrary to s. 18 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act. The appellant contends that the trial judge erred in his assessment of the gravity of the offence and paid too much attention to his previous convictions. It was also submitted that inadequate attention was given to his guilty plea, family circumstances and the progress he had made while in custody.

Held by Birmingham J: The court did not have the advantage of knowing the exact credit that was given in respect of the appellant?s guilty plea. The court also acknowledged that the co?accused had not received such a severe sentence. For these reasons the court set aside the sentence imposed in the Circuit Court and substituted it for a sentence of 36 months with the final twelve months suspended.

Mr. Justice Birmingham

This is an appeal against severity of sentence, the sentence under appeal being one of 32 months imprisonment imposed in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on the 27th July, 2015, in respect of the offence of possession of stolen property contrary to s. 18 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act.


The background facts may be briefly stated. On the morning of the 23rd March, 2013, a robbery of a cash box occurred at McDonalds in Donaghmede Shopping Centre. During the incident what was believed to be a firearm was produced and approximately ?10,000 in cash was stolen. A tracking device was used in order to locate the cash box which was recovered in or around lunchtime that day in a field at Kinsealy, Co. Dublin. An individual who can loosely be described as a co-accused was found at the location and it is of note that the cash box had by that stage been emptied.


Some three days later on the 26th March, 2013, the appellant was noticed by gardaí in the Belcamp Gardens, Darndale area. He was seen to put a package into the letter box of a particular house. That was a house with which he had no connection and it appears tohave been an attempt to evade the attention and interest of gardaí. The package in question was recovered and it contained the sum of ?3,420 in cash which was covered in blue dye. It was established that the money in the package had come from the cash box that had been taken from McDonalds in Donaghmede and subsequently the appellant went on to plead guilty to possession of that sum.


In terms then of the accused's now appellant's background and personal circumstances and his previous record, he is 31 years of age. The Circuit Court was told that he had 125 previous convictions, of which 114 had been dealt with in the District Court, the large majority relating to Road Traffic Act offences. The appellant had three previous convictions for offences under the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001, two of which were for the same offences that as being dealt with on this occasion, an offence under s. 18, one dated from 2005 and one from 2015, which was dealt by the imposition of a sixteen month sentence of imprisonment. So far as this latter offence is concerned that sentence was imposed on the 24th April, 2015 and related to an offence that occurred on the 17th May, 2012. One of the points that the appellant makes is that had the sixteen months sentence and the matter now under consideration being dealt with together that would have or certainly might have inured to the benefit of the accused.


Again the point is made that the divergence between sixteen months for one s. 18 offence and 32 months for the offence that is being considered...

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2 cases
  • Union Des Associations Europeennes De Football v Eircom Ltd T/A Eir
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 29 September 2020
    ...40 (5A) of the 2000 Act was comprehensively considered by the High Court and by the Court of Appeal in Sony v. UPC [2015] IEHC 317 and [2016] IECA 23, albeit in a slightly different 13 The comments by Hogan J. in the Court of Appeal in Sony were discussed and applied by Haughton J. in the F......
  • The People (At the Suit of the DPP) v Daniel O'Brien
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • 17 May 2021
    ...was resentenced on the grounds of rehabilitation and accounting for mitigation. A partial suspension was also granted in Lawlor v DPP [2016] IECA 23 to incentivise 22 A similar approach was again taken in DPP v O'Rourke, in which this court suspended a sentence in recognition of genuine rem......

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