Breifne O’Brien appeals seven year sentence

Former businessman Breifne O’Brien has moved to appeal his prison sentence for inducing others to advance millions of euro to him for investment in bogus property deals.
Breifne O’Brien appeals seven year sentence

O’Brien, aged 54, with an address at Monkstown Grove, Monkstown, Co Dublin, had pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 14 sample counts of making a gain or causing a loss by deception of around €8.5m between 2003 and 2008.

He was sentenced to seven years imprisonment by Judge Patricia Ryan on October 8, 2014.

O’Brien moved to appeal his sentence yesterday on grounds that the judge failed to adequately address the public interest in rehabilitating him and failed to have sufficient regard to various mitigating factors.

Counsel for O’Brien, Patrick McGrath, said the sentencing judge did not appear to have adequately weighed various mitigating factors in O’Brien’s favour such as his lack of previous convictions, his guilty plea, the remorse he showed and his level of co-operation.

Nowhere in the judge’s comments was there any reference to his family circumstances and his loss of social standing. Mr McGrath said.

Submitting a document containing various newspaper reports, Mr McGrath said the “notoriety” that had been occasioned on O’Brien should have been taken into account.

Counsel further submitted that “notoriety” from newspaper reports and O’Brien’s attempts at restitution should have been taken into account.

Counsel for the DPP, Kerida Naidoo, said the facts were that €8.5m had been “stolen” and some €420,000 returned. Mr Naidoo said O’Brien appeared to have put in place efforts for a larger amount to be repaid but no further restitution had been made.

Mr Naidoo agreed O’Brien had in effect “fallen from a great height”, but that height was “based on money that was stolen” and once his crimes were uncovered his “lifestyle was inevitably going to collapse”.

Mr Justice George Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice John Edwards, said the court would reserve judgment and deliver it as soon as possible.

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