'Too lenient' | 

Brute who stabbed and hit partner is led back to jail after sentence appeal

Speaking with the Sunday World Sutton told us he does not accept he is guilty and has an appeal against his sentence before the courts, due to be heard in December.

Sidney Sutton presents himself at Ballymun Garda station before being taken back to prison

By Patrick O'Connell

UPDATE: Mr Sutton appealed the conviction which is to referred below. This appeal was allowed and Mr Sutton’s conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal on 26 April 2021. A retrial will take place in January 2023.

This is the moment an accountant, convicted of engaging in extreme domestic violence, was brought back to prison to serve an additional 16 months on top of his original sentence.

Still protesting his innocence, our pictures show Balbriggan-based accountant Sidney Sutton (43) arriving at Ballymun Garda Station shortly before noon on Friday before later being conveyed back to Mountjoy Prison.

Sutton had already completed a 12-month sentence for domestic abuse – but was ordered to surrender himself at Ballymun after the Court of Appeal ruled his original sentence for domestic abuse was too lenient.

Speaking with the Sunday World Sutton told us he does not accept he is guilty and has an appeal against his sentence before the courts, due to be heard in December.

“The appeal against my conviction should have been heard first,” he claimed. “But the DPP’s appeal against severity went first. I believe that makes no sense.”

Two weeks ago, Sutton was ordered back to jail after the Court of Appeal ruled his original jail sentence of 12 months imposed was unduly lenient. He was ordered by the Court of Appeal to return to prison for a further 16 months.

The accountant and father of two, was originally sentenced to two years in jail with the final 12 months suspended at Trim Circuit Criminal Court in July 2019 after a jury had convicted him on four counts of assault, one count of assault causing harm and one count of producing a knife capable of inflicting serious injury following a trial in 2017.

The court accepted that the offences occurred in the early hours of February 6, 2016, as Sutton and his partner, Edele Aherne, returned to their home after attending a wedding in Slane, Co. Meath, on the previous day.

Sutton had pleaded not guilty to all charges and accused Ms Aherne of assaulting him and inflicting her own injuries through self-harm.

The court heard Sutton had become aggressive in a taxi on the way home by pushing his partner in the head and also shoving her head against a wall after getting out of the vehicle.

On entering their home, it was alleged Sutton punched Ms Aherne in the face and followed her into the bathroom where he continued to punch and kick her, dragged her to the floor and stamped on her legs.

He subsequently returned to the bathroom with a knife and stabbed Ms Aherne in her leg and shoulder.

During the attack, Ms Aherne suffered a black eye, lacerations to her right eye and right calf as well as a number of puncture wounds to her legs and arms.

Allowing the appeal on grounds of undue leniency by the DPP, Mr Justice John Edwards, presiding, with Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly and Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy, said the sentencing judge, Judge Martina Baxter, had erred by setting a headline sentence of three years which was “substantially outside the norm”.

Mr Justice Edwards said it had been compounded by the “unjustified” decision to further suspend 12 months of the actual two-year jail sentence imposed on Sutton.

He said the headline sentence could not reasonably have been less than four years given the “egregious” nature of the offences, particularly the stabbing which he described as “the culmination of a prolonged incident involving extreme domestic violence”.

Mr Justice Edwards said the Court of Appeal rejected any suggestions by Sutton’s counsel that his offending was less culpable because both parties had consumed large quantities of alcohol.

He said that assaults involving domestic violence in the family home were arguably more serious than assaults on strangers outside a domestic setting.

Sutton’s appeal against his conviction is to be heard on December 14.

Today's Headlines

More Courts

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos