Two cases dismissed in wake of suspended sentences ruling

Homeless man pleaded guilty to robbery but has case thrown out after Constitutional ruling

Parts of the Section 99 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006, governing activation of suspended sentences, were struck down in the High Court on Tuesday under the Constitution of Ireland. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Parts of the Section 99 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006, governing activation of suspended sentences, were struck down in the High Court on Tuesday under the Constitution of Ireland. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

 

Cases against two convicted criminals who re-offended while under suspended sentences have been dropped as a result of Tuesday’s High Court ruling.

In the ruling Mr Justice Michael Moriarty declared that parts of Section 99 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 were unconstitutional.

This section allowed the court to activate suspended portions of sentences if a person re-offended.

A number of cases appear before judges every day on the State’s application to have previously suspended sentences activated.

On Wednesday,the State requested that “no order” be made in two cases where a suspended sentence was to be activated.

Sonia Eglington (23) was sentenced to four years in prison with two suspended in 2013 for falsely imprisoning a recruitment agency owner in their office while she looted the premises. She had also graffitied slogans against the gardaí­ and HSE in the basement of Headhunt International recruitment agency and then climbed through a window in the main building.

Eglington, of Caretakers Hostel, Back Lane, Dublin had pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to falsely imprisoning Ms Harrison at Harcourt Street on July 18, 2013.

She was released from prison last year but four months later was caught “fishing” money from a church poor box.

As a result Eglington was sent back to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to have her suspended sentence activated.

However as a result of the High Court ruling, lawyers for the State asked Judge Melanie Greally to make “no order” in the case, meaning the sentence was not activated. Eglington is currently in custody on other matters.

A homeless man who was out on a suspended sentence when he stole from shops also had his case dismissed because of the ruling.

In March 2013 Judge Patrick McCartan sentenced Karl O’Brien (21) to four years with two suspended for the mugging of a UCD student in Dublin city centre.

O’Brien pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the robbery of Barry O’Sullivan on Dame Street on September 18th 2011.

Last December O’Brien pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court to offences, including a minor assault and theft, committed in January 2015.

Garda Peter O’Brien told the court that O’Brien had stolen food from a shop in Dublin city centre and later hit the shopkeeper outside the shop. The District Court remanded O’Brien to the next sitting of the Circuit Court because he was serving a suspended sentence from that court.

On Wednesday morning Derek Cooney BL told Judge McCartan that his instructions from the Director of Public Prosecutions were that no order should be made in light of the recent decision.

O’Brien was in custody but was released as a result of the inability to re-activate the suspended sentence. Garda O’Brien cautioned him to appear again at the District Court for sentencing on the more recent offences.

At his 2013 hearing the court heard that O’Brien had admitted to the mugging but said he had no memory of it as he was on a “two day bender” at the time. He had 20 previous convictions at the time.

The victim was walking along Dame Street on his way to a concert when he was dragged down a laneway by four men.

The court heard that two of the men kept watch, while O’Brien and another man beat Mr O’Sullivan until he handed over his belongings.

The robbers took a Nokia phone, a wallet, a neck chain and €15 in cash before fleeing the scene. The total value of the stolen items was €155.