A Cork man who got a 14-year jail term for crimes including the robbery of a 79-year-old woman, causing her horrific life-changing injuries, had one year reduced from his sentence on appeal today.
Jonathan Duggan, aged 29, was told at the Court of Criminal Appeal today that his total sentence would now stand at 13 years. Duggan muttered that it was hardly worth his while when the decision was taken.
Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly said the 79-year-old was dropped to her front gate by a taxi driver after visiting her terminally ill brother. As she walked to her front door, Duggan grabbed her handbag and pushed her to the ground. It left her with life-changing injuries, where she was hospitalised for two months, had rib fractures, and lost her voice.
The judge said it was the most serious of a number of charges — including theft and burglary — to which Duggan pleaded guilty.
Niamh Stewart, the appellant’s barrister, asked the judges to give Duggan some light at the end of the tunnel. They suspended the last year of the total sentence of 14 years imposed at Cork Circuit Criminal Court by Judge Brian O’Callaghan.
Judge O’Callaghan said: “This lady’s life was turned upside down and inside out and every other way you could imagine. By your selfish, greedy actions, this lady suffered nothing but horrific and appalling times following your visitation to her on that day.
The victim said: "I am now dependent on my family as I cannot manage my needs on my own. This attack has taken my independence and that cannot be forgiven.”
Ms Stewart said: “He did this to feed his addiction — a chronic heroin addiction. He apologised three or four times during interview with gardaí. He said, ‘It makes me feel sick. I would not want that to happen to my mother or grandmother.’ He is extremely remorseful.”
Judge O’Callaghan put it to Duggan: “You have a sense of entitlement from your fellow citizens, that they should be looking after you rather than the other way around. You accept only partial responsibility.”
In suspending one year of the 14-year sentence today, Ms Justice Donnelly said this was to encourage breaking the cycle of drugs, crime, and jail.
Duggan, from Ballinderry Park, Mayfield, Cork, admitted the robbery on October 22, 2018, and thefts and a burglary occurring on September 27, 2018.