Cork man locked up for serious assault on wife released on appeal

Anthony Kelleher.jpg
Anthony Kelleher.jpg

A Cork man given eight years for seriously assaulting his wife, who refused to give evidence against him at trial, is set to be released from prison following a successful appeal.

Anthony Kelleher (42), with a last address at Raleigh North, Macroom, Co Cork, had pleaded not guilty to assault causing serious harm to his wife Siobhán at their home in Macroom on June 12, 2014.

He was unanimously found guilty by a jury of nine men and three women at Cork Circuit Criminal Court and jailed for eight years by Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin in May.

In an ex tempore judgment delivered from the bench this/yesterday afternoon, Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan said the Court of Appeal had considered the submissions from both sides and was satisfied that the appeal should be allowed.

Reasons for allowing the appeal will be set out in a judgment to be delivered in the early part of next term, he said. Mr Justice Sheehan, who sat with Mr Justice Alan Mahon and Mr Justice John Edwards, said the court will deal with the issue of whether there should be a retrial on that occasion.

Kelleher was required to enter into his own bond of €5,000 to have no contact with Siobhan Kelleher directly or indirectly, to reside at his home address and to surrender his passport.

Ms Kelleher had not given evidence against the then accused during his Cork Circuit Criminal Court trial in February but statements she had previously made to gardaí were admitted into evidence by the judge under a legal procedure known as section 16.

Counsel for Kelleher, Tom Creed SC, said the bulk of the appeal was based on section 16 statements and the judge's directions to the jury on those statements.

The lack of engagement with persons whose statements were going in was quite extraordinary, Mr Creed said. There were refusals to answer questions and the judge did not give assistance, he added.

Mr Creed said he asked the judge to intervene twice but the trial judges view seemed to be that he didn't need to intervene. Counsel submitted that there must at least be an attempt by the trial judge to ensure the section 16 procedure was done in the fairest possible fashion.