Man who admitted stabbing father-of-one given 8 year sentence
‘I was involved in the incident, the chap is dead now and I need to give him peace’, accused told gardaí
Sentencing Andrew Gibney at the Central Criminal Court, Mr Justice Paul Butler said he accepted the jury’s verdict in the case and the finding that Gibney did not intend to kill or cause serious injury to Gerard Burnett.
A Dublin man who admitted stabbing a father-of-one three times has been sentenced to eight years with one suspended at the Central Criminal Court for his manslaughter.
Andrew Gibney (25), with an address at Dromheath Avenue, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15 was found not guilty of murder but guilty of the manslaughter of Gerard Burnett (28) by a jury last month. They had deliberated for seven hours and six minutes over three days.
He had pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Burnett at Castlecurragh Vale, Mulhuddart, on August 21st 2012.
Sentencing Gibney on Wednesday, Mr Justice Paul Butler said he accepted the jury’s verdict in the case and the finding that Gibney did not intend to kill or cause serious injury to Mr Burnett.
Gibney told gardaí that he stabbed Gerard Burnett in the side three times with a knife. The accused went to a garda station of his own free will a week after the killing and told officers: “I was involved in the incident, the chap is dead now and I need to give him peace.”
State pathologist, Professor Marie Cassidy, said the deceased suffered 30 knife injuries, the majority being stab wounds. She testified that the fatal injuries were six stab wounds on the right side of Mr Burnett’s chest, all of which had penetrated deeply, causing internal injuries to his right lung, heart and liver.
The prosecution’s case was that Gibney was part of a joint enterprise to murder Mr Burnett and that he was one of five men who went to the deceased’s house on the night and attacked him with knives.
The defence argued that if the evidence pointed to a reasonable possibility that Gibney intended to cause some harm to Mr Burnett short of serious harm, the appropriate verdict was manslaughter.
Outlining the facts of the case on Wednesday, Mr Justice Butler said this was a very tragic case for the deceased and his family.
The judge said Mr Burnett was subjected to an entirely unprovoked attack by a group of people who were probably armed with three knives. One of that group was the accused who admitted stabbing Mr Burnett three times, he said.
He said he respected the jury’s verdict in the case which was manslaughter. “I accept the finding that he did not intend to kill or cause serious injury,” he added.
The judge said the technical evidence established that the three stab wounds inflicted by Gibney were not fatal, were “shallower” than the other stab wounds and they were to Mr Burnett’s side.
He said while Gibney’s remorse does not help to bring Mr Burnett back, it is a very important factor.
He said the court considered the offence to be at the higher end of manslaughter because of the viciousness of the case and the joint enterprise.
The court heard that Gibney has been in custody since August 2012 and he was aware of the practical implications of this but remission was not a matter for the court.
Passing sentence, Mr Justice Butler said he believed the appropriate sentence to be eight years but it was a suitable case in which to suspend part of the sentence based on the progress Gibney has made while in custody and the fact he has no previous convictions.
He then sentenced Gibney to eight years in prison with one year suspended and backdated it to when he went in to custody on August 28th, 2012.
This was the second time Gibney went on trial for Mr Burnett’s murder. He was originally convicted of the 28-year old’s murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in January 2014. That conviction was overturned by the Court of Appeal in November last year and a retrial was ordered which took place last month.