| 12.6°C Dublin

Appeal DPP say sentence for man who broke neighbour's jaw and rammed her car and home was lenient

Kelly (34) fled the scene and tried to escape gardaí by swimming across the River Finn to Strabane, Co Tyrone where he was arrested by the PSNI and returned across the border

Close

Court stock photo

Court stock photo

Court stock photo

The DPP has submitted that an 18-month jail sentence handed down to a Donegal man who caused €13,000 worth of damage after twice ramming his vehicle into a neighbour’s car and home before breaking her jaw was unduly lenient.

Leon Kelly had a two and a half year jail sentence imposed at Letterkenny Circuit Criminal Court last November with the final 12 months suspended after pleading guilty to assault causing harm on Ann Mitchell (62) and criminal damage to her home at Beechwood Grove, Lifford, Co Donegal on April 13, 2019.

Kelly (34) a father of three of The Close, Raphoe, Co Donegal, fled the scene and tried to escape gardaí by swimming across the River Finn to Strabane, Co Tyrone where he was arrested by the PSNI and returned across the border.

He subsequently rammed Ms Mitchell’s home again with his Volkswagen Passat eight days later in what the court heard was a row over money that Kelly claimed he was owed by his victim’s son for a car.

Outlining the appeal, counsel for the DPP, Patricia McLaughlin BL, said the 18-month sentence imposed on Kelly did not reflect the gravity of the offences or the harm he had done given Ms Mitchell suffered a broken jaw and lost a tooth during an unprovoked assault.

While it was a drunken, rage-fuelled offence, it was also a very deliberate and conscious attack, said Ms McLaughlin.

She told the Court of Appeal that Kelly’s use of his vehicle as a weapon when under the influence of alcohol was an aggravating factor as was the second attack eight days after the first incident.

However, counsel for Kelly, Peter Nolan BL, claimed the sentencing judge, Judge John Aylmer had been impressed with his client’s probation report and his potential for rehabilitation.

While Mr Nolan said the sentence might be considered lenient, he argued it was not unduly lenient.

He claimed Kelly’s attempts at swimming across a river into Northern Ireland was “a pointless exercise” as the PSNI were alerted and waiting for him on the other riverbank.

Mr Nolan added: “He’s lucky he didn’t drown.”

Mr Justice Séamus Woulfe, presiding, with Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, said they would deliver a ruling on the appeal on Friday.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

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


Top Videos





Privacy