herald

Monday 25 September 2017

DPP seeks longer jail time for nine criminals

BACKLASH: Child sex attacker and spade-killer son among the targets

THE Director of Public Prosecutions is asking for jail sentences imposed on eight men and a woman between 2009 and 2011 to be increased.

When the Court of Criminal Appeal returns for the new term later this month the director -- over a two-week period -- has eight separate cases listed, appealing sentences on the grounds of "undue leniency".

They include six cases involving sex attacks and two arising out of fatalities. Controversy has already surrounded some of the cases during the trial and sentencing stages.

Joseph Finnerty (45 - pictured), from Grove Villas, Roscrea, Co Tipperary, was jailed for three years in November 2009 for the false imprisonment and sexual assault of a girl, aged just 14, nine years earlier.



Overdose

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre director Ellen O'Malley-Dunlop said it was horrendous that the girl had to wait for nine years and said that justice was not served on the victim.

She had reported her attack to the gardai immediately, but the case took nine years to come to trial due to two judicial reviews instigated by the defence team.

The court heard that the woman, now 25, was suffering from chronic post-traumatic stress. She had taken an overdose and considered hanging herself.

The judge said Finnerty's 25 previous convictions, which included three assaults, demonstrated a history of violence.

However, he accepted the sentence was appropriate since Finnerty had not committed any similar crimes in the nine years it took the case to come to court.

The DPP is also appealing a three-year sentence handed down to a Co Louth man and woman in connection with the death of 29-year-old Darren McKeown in Drogheda on St Stephen's Day 2007.

Michael Cruise, from Ballsgrove, Drogheda, and 22-year-old Clogherhead woman Louise Wall pleaded guilty to violent disorder after their trial for murder collapsed.

The trial judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to convict them of homicide following medical evidence that the principal cause of the victim's death was a head injury sustained when he fell and hit his head.

Sentencing both to five-year jail terms, with two years suspended, Mr Justice McCarthy said he felt it appropriate to jail both for three years each in the hope that time in jail would benefit the two, whom he said lived "disorderly lives".

Another appeal by the DPP involves the controversial 18- month sentence imposed on a 23-year-old man for the killing of his father with a spade.

James McInerney (23), of Lacey Avenue, Templemore, Co Tipperary, was found not guilty of murdering his 56-year-old father Jimmy on June 17, 2009, but guilty of his manslaughter.

He had acted in self-defence and described his father as "the most evil man you could have met" who had spent 25 years beating his wife and family.







Bottle

The dead man's widow Eileen told the court that she probably wouldn't be alive were it not for her son's protection.

She said she spent the 25 years running between women's refuges, neighbours' homes and hospital. At one stage, she received up to 50 stitches after her husband broke a bottle in her face.

Mrs McInerney also told how five of her 10 children suffered disabilities -- and three of the five were blind. She said her husband hit her with "bottles, sticks, iron bars, everything he could get his hands on".

cmallon@herald.ie

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