Court rejects appeal by teen who firebombed politicians home

A teenager jailed for fire years for firebombing the home of a politician who he had a grudge against has had his appeal against severity of that sentence dismissed by the Court of Criminal Appeal.

A teenager jailed for fire years for firebombing the home of a politician who he had a grudge against has had his appeal against severity of that sentence dismissed by the Court of Criminal Appeal.

In November 2006 Sean Quinn (19), of Ashwood, Mahon, Cork was jailed for five years after pleading guilty before Cork Circuit Criminal Court to an arson attack on the home of Cork City Council Green Party member, Cllr Chris O'Leary on the early hours of July 14, 2006.

Quinn appealed against the severity of the seven year, with the final two suspended, prison sentence imposed by Judge Patrick Moran.

Today the three judge Court of Criminal Appeal, consisting of Mr Justice Joseph Finnegan presiding sitting with, Mr Justice Roderick Murphy and Mr Justice John Hedigan rejected Quinn's appeal.

In dismissing the appeal Mr Justice Finnegan said that the offences were "serious matters".

The judge said the crimes were not opportunistic, and were carried out due a grudge held by Quinn against Mr O'Leary.

In the court's view there was no error in the sentence imposed on Quinn, which the court said was on the "lenient side."

The court noted the attack on Cllr O'Leary's home involved a container of flammable liquid being thrown against the front door at around 3.30am on the morning in question, causing both the door and its surrounds to

catch fire.

The Judge said that fortunately Mr O'Leary was awake at the time, and was able to get his daughter and wife out of the house.

More than €55,000 worth of damage was caused to the Loughmahon house in the petrol bomb attack, and they had to spend 10 weeks away from their home.

The Judge noted that when asked why he had carried out the attack Quinn said he had a grievance with Mr O'Leary because he said he had "ratted" on him to the Gardaí in relation to another matter.

The Court also noted that Quinn also said that he wanted a reputation of being "a hard man."

The court noted that Quinn's attack on the Green Party councillor's home followed a number of events on the same night that had included throwing a brick through the window, and the vandalism of a car causing substantial damage.

The judge said that one of the most "troubling features" of the case was that there were reports before the court stating that Quinn "will not modify his conduct except in the fear of clear consequences."

Counsel for Quinn had argued that the trial judge had erred by not fully taking into account factors including that Quinn, who was 17 years of age at the time of the offences, had a difficult personal history.

It was further argued that a five year sentence for somebody of his age was an "absolute lifetime."

Opposing the appeal counsel for the DPP said that the sentence imposed on Quinn was "not excessive" given the circumstances should not be interfered with.

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