Killer refused discounted sentence for burglary jail time09/07/2012 - 18:37:36
A judge has refused to give a convicted killer a discounted sentence for time served in the North on a different crime.
Paul Rice (aged 26) beat his best friend, Keith Mills, to death during an argument in 2008 after they had been drinking together for two days.
Last month he was sentenced to seven years with the final two suspended.
Rice of Clanhugh Road, Donnycarney pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the manslaughter of Mr Mills in Ayrfield on December 22, 2008.
The court heard that after the killing Rice moved to Belfast to live with his father. He confessed after he was arrested under a European arrest warrant in December 2010.
After his arrest in Belfast he was jailed there for a year and four months for a burglary offence. On his release in January 2012 he was handed over to the gardaí for prosecution on the manslaughter charge.
At the conclusion of the sentencing hearing last month, Rice’s defence counsel Aileen Donnelly SC, applied to have his time in custody in Northern Ireland taken into account when deciding his release date.
Prosecution counsel Elva Duffy BL objected, stating that Rice was not in custody solely on the European Arrest Warrant while in the North so is not entitled to have his imprisonment there taken into account when backdating the seven-year sentence.
Today Judge Margaret Heneghan agreed with the prosecution and refused to backdate the sentence to the date of his arrest.
She said that because he was serving a burglary sentence in the intervening time he is not entitled to claim it as time served off his current sentence. However she did agree to backdate the sentence to the date of his transfer to the Irish authorities in January 2012.
After last month’s sentencing hearing, the victim’s parents expressed their “disgust” at what they called “a very lenient” sentence.
“The law is a joke. He got five years for murdering my son, five years,” Keith’s mother, Terry Mills commented. “I just can’t believe it. Three and half years we are going through this, three and half years.”
When asked how they found the last number of years, Mrs Mills replied: “It has been a nightmare, like living the funeral all over. Every day I live Keith’s funeral over and over again. I just don’t believe she just gave him five years. It’s just not fair”
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