Woman who tried to jab Luas driver in the eye with broken bottle has jail term cut on appeal
A woman who tried to jab an off-duty Luas driver in the eye with a broken bottle has had her jail term cut on appeal.
Aoife Molloy (25), with an address on the South Circular Road, in Dublin had pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Noel O'Rourke on an outbound red Luas between the Smithfield and Museum stops on December 11, 2014.
She was sentenced at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four years imprisonment with the final 18 months suspended by Judge James O'Donohoe on January 15, 2016.
The Court of Appeal cut Molloy's jail term by six months today after finding that her sentence should have been on a par with that of her co-accused, who got four years with two suspended.
Giving judgment, Mr Justice George Birmingham said the injured party happened to be a Luas driver but on this occasion was an ordinary passenger who had been out socialising.
A group of young people including Molloy were on the Luas drinking bottles of beer. They started talking to the injured party when a verbal altercation between him and Molloy appeared to have developed.
The Luas jolted, the injured party stumbled and Molloy kicked him as he tried to get up.
Molloy grabbed an uncapped bottle of Budweiser and struck him twice over the head. When she hit him a third time, it smashed. She then tried to "stab or jab" him in the eye area but in fact jabbed him in the lip.
After this incident, Molloy and her co-accused got off the tram and ran off.
The injured party was brought by ambulance to the Mater. He required four stitches to the top of his head, two to another part of the scalp and two to the lips. A fractured bone between the jaw and eye area was seen as a significant injury.
Mr Justice Birmingham said Molloy was arrested and no admissions were made. There was however, high quality CCTC footage and DNA evidence linking her to the bottle. An early plea of guilty was notified.
Molloy had seven previous convictions all for road traffic matters. She had been involved in a number of very abusive relationships, the judge said, and resorted to prescription drugs and alcohol. She was under the influence of these at the time of this incident.
Mr Justice Birmingham said an assault carried out by a group resulitng in significant injuries which appear to remain with the injured party, was a very significant offence. It was also an assault on public transport, a dimension which added to the seriousness, the judge said.
IN the course of the original sentence hearing, the judge was focused on assigning relative culpability. “Everyone must have left the court,” Mr Justice Birmingham said, believing each of the accused would be found equally culpable.
But the following day, the judge drew a distinction between Molloy and her co-accused leaving her with an extra six months in jail. Her co-accused was sentenced to four years imprisonment with the final two years suspended.
Mr Justice Birmingham said it would have been desirable for the judge to have informed the parties as to the direction he was going and to have provided Molloy's legal team an opportunity to dissuade him from that view.
The view reached by him was certainly “not unreasonable”. However, in a situation where Molloy's lawyers were denied an opportunity to argue that her culpability was not greater or less, it was appropriate for the court to intervene.
The mitigation that was available to her was greater. She had taken specific and positive steps to rehabilitate herself, had offered compensation and there were exceptionally difficult circumstances in the background.
Mr Justice Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice Alan Mahon, said the justice of the case was met by increasing the suspended period in order to provide parity with her co-accused.
Molloy was resentenced to four year imprisonment with the final two years suspended.