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Brutal assault CAB target John O'Donoghue lodges first appeal of year in bid to overturn machete attack conviction

The Rathkeale man was given a 10-year penalty in December after being convicted for a machete attack on a 74-year-old man

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John O’Donoghue is in Limerick Prison

John O’Donoghue is in Limerick Prison

John O’Donoghue is in Limerick Prison

Drug dealing thug and CAB target John O'Donoghue lodged the first appeal of 2022 in bid to overturn his conviction for a horrifying attack.

The Rathkeale man was given a 10-year penalty in December after being convicted for a machete attack on a 74-year-old man.

A date has yet to be set for hearing at the Court of Appeal, where motions to have the conviction quashed or the sentence reduced will be heard.

The lengthy sentence was handed down just five days before Christmas following a week-long trial in November at Limerick Circuit Court.

Sources say O'Donoghue has been a model prisoner since being remanded in custody to Limerick Prison, not far from his ornate mansion in Rathkeale.

Grounds for appeals usually centre on issues of law, errors made during the case or the introduction of new evidence.

The details of O'Donoghue's appeal won't be known until they are heard in court.

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O’Donoghue and his son Fred were convicted of threatening and abusive behaviour towards CAB officers searching his home in 2016

O’Donoghue and his son Fred were convicted of threatening and abusive behaviour towards CAB officers searching his home in 2016

O’Donoghue and his son Fred were convicted of threatening and abusive behaviour towards CAB officers searching his home in 2016

 

Described in court as a leading member of Rathkeale's Traveller-trader community, the 53-year-old had shown "no remorse" for the assault in December 2017.

Judge Patrick Meghen said the fact that he had been convicted of assaulting the victim's son in 2003 was an added factor.

During the case it was heard how Willie O'Driscoll was in Rathkeale for the first time in 17 years when the unprovoked attack happened at 9am.

Several men arrived in two black cars as the victim was about to walk from where he was staying to a relative's home.

The men, who were armed with weapons, prevented anyone coming to Willie O'Driscoll's aid as he was attacked by O'Donoghue wielding a two-and-a-half-foot long machete.

The injured man suffered deep cuts to his head and face and there were fears his arm would fall off because it was so deeply cut.

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In his victim impact statement, Willie O'Driscoll, a former antiques dealer, said: "I thought I was going to die."

It was suggested there was bad blood because O'Donoghue had eloped with O'Driscoll's niece years previously before marrying her.

O'Donoghue previously hit the headlines when he and his son Fred were convicted of threatening and abusive behaviour towards CAB officers searching his home in 2016.

The pair became aggressive towards gardai carrying out the early morning search.

The raids were part of Operation Oakleaf, an investigation into an organised crime gang in Rathkeale, Co Limerick.

They were carried out after Europol identified an organised crime group with connections to Rathkeale operating across Europe.

O'Donoghue had also been the target of the UK's National Crime Agency when he was caught red-handed organising a cannabis deal in 2013.

A meeting with a contact in Salford was recorded in which he was heard discussing the price and delivery of drugs into the UK from the Netherlands.

He pleaded guilty to facilitating drug trafficking deals for organised crime groups both in the UK and Ireland and was given a two-year suspended sentence.

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