Cases dropped over court’s suspended sentences ruling

Cases against two convicted criminals, who re-offended while under suspended sentences, have been dropped as a result of Tuesday’s High Court ruling.

In that ruling, Mr Justice Michael Moriarty declared that parts of Section 99 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 were unconstitutional. This section allowed the court to activate suspended portions of sentences if a person re-offended.

A number of cases appear before judges every day on the State’s application to have previously suspended sentences activated.

Yesterday, the State requested that “no order” be made in two cases where a suspended sentence was to be activated.

Sonia Eglington, aged 23, was sentenced to four years in prison with two suspended in 2013 for falsely imprisoning a recruitment agency owner in their office while she looted the premises.

Eglington, of Caretakers Hostel, Back Lane, Dublin, had pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to falsely imprisoning the woman at Harcourt St on July 18, 2013. She was released from prison last year but four months later was caught “fishing” money from a church poor box. As a result, Eglington was sent back to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to have her suspended sentence activated.

However, as a result of the High Court ruling, lawyers for the State asked Judge Melanie Greally to make “no order” in the case, meaning the sentence was not activated. Eglington is currently in custody on other matters.

In a second case, a homeless man who was out on a suspended sentence when he stole from shops also had his case dismissed because of the ruling.

In March 2013, Judge Patrick McCartan sentenced Karl O’Brien, aged 21, to four years with two suspended for the mugging of a UCD student in Dublin city centre.

Last December, O’Brien pleaded guilty to offences, including a minor assault and theft, committed in January 2015.

Derek Cooney, prosecuting, told Judge McCartan that his instructions from the DPP were that no order should be made in light of the recent decision.

O’Brien was in custody but was released as a result.


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