Suspended term for biting and breaking garda’s finger ‘unduly lenient’

Brandon Power (21) to be sentenced again in March over incident in Bray courthouse

A man who bit a garda’s finger with such force that he broke the bone could face jail time after being told his suspended sentence was too lenient. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

A man who bit a garda’s finger with such force that he broke the bone could face jail time after being told his suspended sentence was too lenient. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

 

A man who bit a garda’s finger with such force that he broke the bone could face jail time after being told his suspended sentence was too lenient.

Brandon Power (21), of St Jospeh’s Road, Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow, pleaded guilty to assaulting Garda Thomas Devereux in Bray courthouse on March 31st, 2018.

The Court of Appeal heard that Power was being sentenced for another matter when he became aggrieved and attempted to flee. As he was being restrained, he bit down on the garda’s finger.

Garda Devereux told the court he had never felt pain like it and heard his own finger snap during the attack. He believed Power had bitten the finger off.

The accused was given a wholly suspended one year sentence by Judge Terence O’Sullivan on April 11th last, which was found to be “unduly lenient” by the Court of Appeal on Friday.

Serious force

Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, James Kelly BL, submitted that there had to have been a “serious application of force” to break the finger.

President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham said he was in “no doubt” that Power’s suspended sentence was “unduly lenient”.

He said Garda Devereaux was simply performing his duty, attempting to prevent Power’s escape from custody.

Mr Justice Birmingham said there were significant mitigating factors present including previous mental health difficulties and powerful evidence from Power’s mother. The court sought an up-to-date probation report, ahead of resentencing and Power was allowed to remain on bail.

Mr Justice Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, said the court was not to be taken as indicating that a custodial sentence was not going to be imposed. The matter was put back to March 10th.