'Traveller feud mediator' has sentence for assault with carjack cut

CourtsBy Sunday World
He was sentenced to four years imprisonment with the final 12 months suspended
He was sentenced to four years imprisonment with the final 12 months suspended

A man who "brought peace to bear" on a “serious feud” within the travelling community has had his prison sentence for assault cut on appeal.

Patrick Sherlock (47), of Droim Chaoin, Bishop O'Donnell Road, Galway, had pleaded guilty at Galway Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to another man in the city on March 25, 2012.

He was sentenced to four years imprisonment with the final 12 months suspended by Judge Rory McCabe on March 26, 2014.

Sherlock successfully appealed his sentence today with the Court of Appeal holding that insufficient weight was given to "compelling" mitigating factors.

Giving judgment, Mr Justice Alan Mahon said Sherlock assaulted the injured party with a carjack causing a compound fracture to the arm which required the insertion of a metal plate. The assault occured moments after the victim approached him in relation to a row the previous day.

The court was told that Sherlock had been holding the carjack when he was approached and, as such, had not armed himself with the implement for the purpose of effecting the assault.

His barrister, Blaise O'Carroll SC, submitted that the sentencing judge placed the offence too high on the scale of gravity and gave insufficient weight to a number of mitigating factors.

Mr O'Carroll said Sherlock had not sought out or pursued the injured party, but rather he was approached by him.

The carjack that was used to strike Mr Folan appeared to be in his hand at the time of the approach and it was not in any way picked up by him for use as a weapon.

Mr O'Carroll said the incident was a one blow assault and Sherlock did not, having disabled the injured party, further assault of kick him.

Mr Justice Mahon said the court found these as credible matters that the judge ought to have attached greater weight to. Had he done so, the appropriate sentence would have been in the region of three years rather than four, the judge said.

There were quite compelling mitigating factors present, Mr Justice Mahon said, not least Sherlock's efforts to mediate and to end a serious feud between traveller families which was a matter of concern to the travelling community and the gardaí.

It was to Sherlock's credit that he continued to solve traveller feuding in the prison system, which was recognised by the authorities, the judge said.

Mr O'Carroll said Sherlock was "responsible for bringing peace to bear" in the feud.

Mr Justice Mahon, who sat with Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan, resentenced Sherlock to three years imprisonment with the final nine months suspended.