Man who received Gaisce award two weeks before hammer attack moves to appeal sentence

Man who received Gaisce award two weeks before hammer attack moves to appeal sentence

A man who received a Gaisce Award from President Michael D Higgins two weeks before he was jailed for a hammer assault has moved to appeal his prison sentence

David Emerson (31), with an address at Domheath Drive, Mulhuddart, had pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to a man at Kilshane Cross, Finglas on June 21, 2012.

He was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment by Judge Martin Nolan on July 12, 2013.

Emerson moved to appeal his sentence today on grounds that the judge should not have imposed a custodial sentence in light of his efforts to rehabilitate himself.

His barrister, Michael Bowman SC said Emerson had been on a property possessed with a hammer on the night in question and when he was pursued by the occupant of the property he “ran himself into a corner”.

Emerson, “who was undoubtedly under the influence of intoxicants”, lashed out and struck the injured party with the hammer, Mr Bowman said

On the other side of the coin, Mr Bowman said it was insightful that a man “well familiar with the gardaí” was searched on 11 occasions with “negative results” between the incident and sentencing.

Emerson had engaged with the Fr Peter McVerry Trust and had received a Gaisce award from the President of Ireland Michael D Higgins, Mr Bowman said.

Fr McVerry was tenaciously committed to Emerson, Mr Bowman said, and his placement in a stable home environment "worked wonders".

On each occasion that Emerson had previously come to court he was “nonplussed”, Mr Bowman said, but something changed within his psyche. He came to court to be sentenced with “pride in his appearance” and had completely reversed his two-fisted approach to the world, he said.

Mr Bowman submitted that Emerson's serious record inhibitted the judge's capacity to impose a non-custodial sentence.

He said Emerson was granted bail by the Court of Criminal Appeal in July 2013 and he asked the court to impose a suspended sentence having regard to the efforts he had made to rehabilitate himself.

Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan, who sat with Mr Justice Alan Mahon and Mr Justice John Edwards said the court would adjourn the matter to a later date.