Sentence doubled for man who took machete to grandfather’s funeral
A 27-year-old man who originally received a three year suspended sentence for violent disorder, assault causing harm and possession of a machete at his grandfather’s funeral has had his sentence doubled by the Court of Appeal.
Johnny McDonagh (27), with an address at The Big Isle, Manorcunningham, Letterkenny, County Donegal, was arrested along with his three brothers Martin, Michael and Owen, following an incident at his grandfather’s funeral in Ballyhaunis, County Mayo, on June 16, 2016.
The incident resulted in injuries to their cousins, who live in England.
Martin and Johnny McDonagh were both convicted in Castlebar Circuit Court following a trial where they had pleaded not guilty. Martin McDonagh was subsequently sentenced on October 12, 2018, to six years, suspended for five years.
Patrick Reynolds BL for the DPP said that the trial judge, when sentencing Johnny McDonagh, was under the mistaken impression that Martin McDonagh had received a three year sentence.
Judge Rory McCabe imposed a three year sentence on Johnny McDonagh in February 2019.
Mr Reynolds said that the judge’s intention was clearly to impose the same sentence on both men, in particular since the evidence at the trial was that Johnny McDonagh has played the more serious role in the incident.
Diarmuid J Connolly BL said his client has no further offences since his conviction, and the peace had since been kept between the feuding families.
Court of Appeal president Mr Justice George Birmingham said the trial judge was under a misapprehension that Martin McDonagh had been given a three year sentence when he was sentencing his co-accused, Johnny McDonagh, and had made an error.
The court quashed the original three year sentenced and imposed a new six year sentence, suspended for five years.
“You’ve a very lengthy suspended sentence hanging over you so if you get in trouble you’ll find yourself serving it so stay out of trouble,” Judge Birmingham said to McDonagh.
“Thank you very much judge,” said McDonagh in reply.
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