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61-year-old asked court not to jail heroin addict who robbed him

61-year-old asked court not to jail heroin addict who robbed him

A heroin addict whose 61-year-old victim requested he not be sent to jail for robbery has had his prison sentence cut on appeal.

Trevor O'Donoghue (34), of Kilbeg, Bandon, Co Cork, had pleaded guilty to robbing €750 from the man at the Cork City Bus Station on June 29, 2014.

He was subsequently sentenced to five years imprisonment with the final 18 months suspended at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

The Court of Appeal reduced O'Donoghue's prison sentence today after finding that the Circuit Court was incorrectly told he had a previous conviction he did not in fact have.

Giving judgment, Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan said the injured party, a 61-year-old man, who walked with the aid of a stick, was on his way home when O'Donoghue and an associate approached him, spoke to him and grabbed him.

O'Donoghue held the injured party while his associate grabbed €750 from his hands. They then ran away.

The injured party did not make a victim impact statement and requested that O'Donoghue not be sent to jail. His associate on the night in question died from heroin prior to the case reaching court.

In the course of sentencing, Mr Justice Sheehan said the Circuit Court was incorrectly told that O'Donoghue had a previous conviction which he did not in fact have.

When asked subsequently about this matter, the Circuit Court judge's response was that he could not say whether this was in his mind at the time of sentence and he was “going to let the Court of Appeal deal with this matter”, Mr Justice Sheehan said.

Once the judge decided not to open the matter, “it was proper for us to do so” because O'Donoghue could well have a sense of grievance believing the conviction wrongly attributed to him could have left him with a higher sentence.

He had 44 previous convictions including one for robbery in 2003. He left school when he was aged 11 and began using drugs three years later. From 2007 to the time of sentence he was addicted to heroin. His own partner died a year ago and his nine year old son is being reared by his sister, Mr Justice Sheehan said.

It appeared that since going into prison, O'Donoghue has made a serious effort to deal with his addiction, the judge said.

Mr Justice Sheehan, who sat with Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice Alan Mahon, resentenced O'Donoghue to four years imprisonment with the final 18 months suspended.