Court reserves judgement in doctor-stabbing case

The Court of Criminal Appeal has reserved judgement in the case of a psychiatric patient jailed for 10 years for repeatedly stabbing a doctor.

The Court of Criminal Appeal has reserved judgement in the case of a psychiatric patient jailed for 10 years for repeatedly stabbing a doctor.

Anthony McMahon (aged 34), with a last address at Raheen Square, Ballinacurra Weston, stabbed forensic psychiatrist Dr Ananth Pullela (aged 58) eight times in the chest at St Anne’s Psychiatric Day Hospital in Limerick on January 17, 2008.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison by Judge Carroll Moran in May last year, having pleaded guilty to assault causing serious harm.

Lawyers for the State argued that this 10-year sentence was unduly lenient because only a sentence of life imprisonment could nullify the danger McMahon posed.

Mr John O’Sullivan BL told the court the sentencing judge did not give adequate weight to the fact that McMahon represented a danger of the “gravest kind” to his fellow citizens.

He said that McMahon was likely to reoffend in the gravest possible manner and that he posed the greatest risk to those who had to interact with him, including members of his family.

Counsel for Mr McMahon, Mr Andrew Sexton SC, said that Judge Moran’s judgement made it clear he had considered the threat posed by McMahon.

Mr Sexton said that the sentencing judge had given weight to evidence that McMahon was at high risk of causing harm to others, in particular members of his own family.

He said that there were structures in place to deal with psychiatric patients serving sentences of a determinative length and that the onus should not be on an accused person to demonstrate how the public ought to be protected.

The three-judge court, with Mr Justice Donal O’Donnell, presiding, sitting with Mr Justice Daniel O’Keeffe and Ms Justice Maureen Clark, reserved judgement until a later date.

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