Increased jail terms sought for two men jailed after 'fatal burglary'

Prosecutors are seeking increased prison sentences for two men jailed for a “fatal burglary” at the home of a 62-year-old.

Cousins Michael Casey (aged 34), with an address at Clonlong Halting Site, Southill, in Limerick and David Casey (aged 22), with an address at Carragh Park, Belcamp, Dublin 17, had pleaded guilty to a series of burglaries, including one at the home of John O'Donoghue at Toomaline, Doon, on August 27, 2015.

John O'Donoghue's home.

Judge Tom O'Donnell sentenced both men at Limerick Circuit Criminal Court to four and a half years imprisonment with the final year suspended on December 15, 2016.

The Director of Public Prosecutions are seeking a review of the men's sentences on grounds that they were “unduly lenient”.

Counsel for the DPP, Thomas O'Malley BL, submitted this morning that the sentence was too low for the burglary of the O'Donoghue household when one considered the harm that was caused in that particular case.

There was a second victim – Mr O'Donoghue's surviving sister – who had to watch her brother “drop dead in front of the family home” as he was about to confront the two intruders.

Mr O'Malley said the harm was particularly high. “Of course they didn't for a moment intend to harm anybody” but “they had to take their victim as they found him”.

He said offenders who engage in residential burglary must take account of the fact they might disturb somebody and that “this kind of thing can happen. Somebody could become ill or die as a result of the fright”

There was an “inherent risk” in burglary and there had to be a punishment that reflected that harm element in the offence, he submitted.

The appeal hearing continues this afternoon.

Before the appeal hearing commenced, Mr Justice George Birmingham said he would be asking the registrar of the court to write to the Irish Prison Service expressing the court's disappointment with prisoners being made available to court.

Mr Justice Birmingham said the court appreciated the prison service had their own difficulties but when an appeal listed for 10.30am commences at 12.10pm it “requires explanation”. “This really is a major difficulty,” the judge said.

More to follow....



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