The Court of Appeal has reserved judgment on whether to return a young, first-time offender to jail for a nightclub glass assault, following an “undue leniency” appeal by prosecutors which raised “significant issues”.
Jordan O’Donovan, aged 21, of Willow Bank, Fairhill, Cork, had pleaded guilty to assault causing serious harm to another man in a Cork nightclub on December 27, 2013.
He was sentenced at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to three years’ imprisonment with the final two suspended by Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin on October 28, 2014.
The DPP sought a review of the sentence on grounds it was “unduly lenient”.
Donal O’Sullivan, for the DPP, told the Court of Appeal yesterday that O’Donovan was in a club on St Stephen’s night when he “initiated” a physical encounter with a young man.
O’Donovan had a glass in his hand and struck out in the facial area, said Mr O’Sullivan, causing severe facial injuries that required a number of surgeries. The injuries would have been “obvious”, he said.
Mr O’Sullivan submitted that the Circuit Court judge erred in failing to state where on the scale he placed the offence and the ultimate custodial element was “significantly out of kilter” for an offence of its kind.
He said the Court of Criminal Appeal had “mandated”, following a review of cases, that a starting point of four to seven years was required for mid-range serious assaults. “To go from that to what ultimately ended up being imposed here” was a substantial departure from the norm, Mr O’Sullivan submitted.
Sinead Behan, for O’Donovan, told the court it would be “fundamentally unfair” to deal with the matter 10 months after her client had been released from custody.
She said her client’s mitigating factors included his young age, lack of previous convictions, genuine remorse, his guilty plea, engagement with gardaí, good sporting involvement, good working history, positive probation report, and positive employment reports.
Judgment was reserved until Monday.
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