DPP lodges appeal against sentence

 

The Director of Public Prosecutions has lodged an appeal against a five-year sentence given to a man convicted of killing a security guard in Dublin.

Asylum-seeker Afrim Xhafa (22) was convicted of the manslaughter of Mr Liam Martin (23) last month and sentenced to five years by the Central Criminal Court. Mr Martin, the youngest son in a Carlow family, was stabbed by Xhafa 12 times after a fight outside a fast-food restaurant in O'Connell Street in June 1997.

Mr Martin's father, Seamus, said yesterday he was pleased the sentence was to be appealed, but more important was that Xhafa, an Albanian national, be deported after he served his sentence.

The DPP is believed to have lodged the appeal papers on Friday and the Court of Criminal Appeal is expected to deal with the case in two months.

"Since we heard about the appeal there's been a little bit of satisfaction," Mr Martin said, "satisfaction that somebody recognises that this sentence was seriously lenient."

Mr Martin, who spoke about his son's killing to Marian Finucane on RTE after the sentencing, said he was not as concerned about the length of sentence as he was about deportation.

He said his son's killer would be due for release, with standard remission, in March 2001. Mr Martin said he wanted Xhafa to be deported "more than anything else". This was not an anti-immigrant stance but his family felt threatened after being identified as the victim's family in court.

The power of the DPP to appeal sentences on the grounds of leniency is new under the 1993 Criminal Justice Act. Last month the DPP successfully appealed the sentence of the German national Jan Gerrit Isenborger, who was given a four-year suspended sentence for shooting a county sheriff and two bailiffs. That sentence was overturned to five years in prison. The Garda Representative Association has asked the DPP to appeal the sentences for manslaughter of the four men convicted in the Jerry McCabe case. However no such appeal had been lodged by yesterday.