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Trial judge erred in imposing sentences on a consecutive basis for offences arising out of same incident

By: Colm Scott Byrne BL

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Court of Appeal allows appeal against an aggregate sentence of twenty years’ imprisonment with the final eight years suspended in relation to the first appellant, and an aggregate term of seventeen years’ imprisonment with the final ten years suspended in relation to the second appellant, imposed for burglary and two counts of assault causing harm, and substitutes the sentence for one of an aggregate term of 12 years with the final 2 years suspended in relation to the first appellant and an aggregate term of seven and a half years with the final year suspended, on the grounds the trial judge erred in imposing sentences on a consecutive basis.

Kennedy J (nem diss): Criminal Law - sentencing - appeal of sentence after the two appellants each pleaded guilty to a count of burglary and two counts of assault causing harm - the first appellant received an aggregate sentence of twenty years’ imprisonment with the final eight years suspended on terms - the second appellant received an aggregate sentence of seventeen years’ imprisonment with the final ten years suspended on terms - the appellants attacked the complainant in his house with a knife and hammer - the complainant had owed the first appellant €50 - a headline sentence of twelve years was nominated for the burglary and four years for each assault, each count imposed on a consecutive basis resulting in a total sentence of twenty years in relation to the first appellant - a headline sentence of nine years in respect of the burglary was identified as a pre-mitigation sentence together with four years for each assault, imposed consecutively, resulting in a total sentence of seventeen years in relation to the second appellant - the respondent accepted that the trial judge erred in imposing the sentences on a consecutive basis but submitted that the net sentence for the respective appellants was proportionate in light of such grave offending - appeal allowed - Court moved to resentencing - Court imposes a sentence of 12 years with the final 2 years suspended for the robbery in relation to the first appellant - the Court imposes a sentence of 4 years in relation to both assault convictions to run concurrently with other sentence - Court imposes a sentence of seven and a half years with the final year suspended in relation to second appellant.

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