A serial burglar who shone a torch directly in to the face of a cocooning pensioner and claimed he was a garda as he ransacked her home a 4am, while his accomplice wielded a baseball bat at the 83-year-old woman, has had his jail time increased.
Anthony Horgan (46), of no fixed abode, was jailed for six years by Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin at Cork Circuit Criminal Court in April 2021 after he pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated burglary and five counts of burglary.
Horgan’s bat-wielding co-accused, Christopher Jones, received a four-year term for his role in the crime spree in Cork city, which took place on April 16th-17th, 2020, during the first Covid-19 lockdown.
Jones later had his sentenced increased by one year after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) successfully argued that the original custodial term had been unduly lenient.
The DPP then appealed the length of Horgan’s term on the same grounds.
In papers submitted to the Court of Appeal, the State argued Judge Ó Donnabháin had erred by setting a headline sentence for Horgan at seven years, adding the term should have been somewhere between 9-14 years.
Ray Boland SC, for the DPP, told the three-judge court he was asking for an increase to Horgan’s term similar to the one applied by the same court to Jones.
Mr Boland also told the court that Horgan has seven convictions for burglary in the Republic and seven for burglary in the UK.
The respondent had also been convicted for an aggravated burglary in 2002, in Midleton, Co Cork, counsel added.
Alison McCarthy BL, for Horgan, said her client was a heroin addict who was living as a rough sleeper at the time of the latest offences.
Ms McCarthy said that although gardaí had described her client as "career criminal", the majority of his previous offending took place more than 20 years ago, urging the court not to interfere with the sentence handed down.
Counsel added her client was working as a cleaner in prison, while Horgan told the court he was trying his best to "change his ways".
However, in a judgement issued on Tuesday, Mr Justice John Edwards, presiding, sitting with Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, said the appellate court agreed with the DPP that the sentence handed down had been unduly lenient.
Quashing Horgan’s original term, Mr Justice Edwards re-sentenced the respondent to eight years’ imprisonment, with one year suspended.