28 May 2022

Man who bit ear off in pub following 'very minor altercation' has sentence upheld on appeal

Dublin man who bit ear off in pub following 'very minor altercation' has sentence upheld on appeal

A man jailed for biting another man’s ear off in the smoking area of a pub, following a “very minor altercation”, has lost an appeal against the severity of his sentence.

Sean Jackson (27) of Doon Court, Ballymun, Dublin, had no memory due to intoxication and pleaded not guilty to assault causing serious harm to the man at Ardlea Inn, Maryfield Avenue, Dublin 5, on August 23, 2014. 

He was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to five years imprisonment by Judge Martin Nolan on December 4, 2017. 

His sentence was upheld by the Court of Appeal on Thursday. 

Giving judgment in the three-judge court, Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy said there appeared to have been a minor altercation between Jackson and the injured party in the smoking area of the pub. 

Following this, Jackson left the smoking area and returned a short time later and bit a large portion of the injured party’s ear off. 

A witness saw part of the ear on the ground and alerted gardaí. Jackson claimed to have to no memory of the incident and pleaded not guilty. 

He had 24 previous convictions, including three for possession of a controlled drug and two for public order offences. 

Ms Justice Kennedy said Jackson lived with his partner and daughter. His six-year-old daughter was also staying with him for four nights a week at the time of sentence, due to difficulties her mother was having with housing. 

She said the offence involved a violent and unprovoked attack on the injured party, resulting in “disastrous” and largely foreseeable consequences. 

She noted that Jackson had left the smoking area and returned following a “very minor altercation”.

The biting of another person’s ear can cause serious harm. The fact it’s done in an intoxicated condition was not a mitigating factor and did not excuse the crime, as rightly noted by the sentencing judge, Ms Justice Kennedy said. 

She said the seven-year starting point was correct and full credit was given for the mitigating factors by the two year discount. 

Ms Justice Kennedy, who sat with President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said no error could be found and the appeal was therefore dismissed. 

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