18 May 2022

Cancer patient who broke leg of man (65) he robbed outside bookies loses sentence appeal

Dublin Cancer patient who broke leg of man (65) he robbed outside bookies loses sentence appeal

A cancer patient who broke the leg of a 65-year-old man he robbed outside a bookies has lost an appeal against the severity of his three-year jail term. 

Martin Hanley (55), of Mountjoy Square, Dublin 1 pleaded guilty to the robbery at Gardiner Lane in the capital, on November 23, 2017. 

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Hanley knocked Frank O'Neill to the ground with a punch as the victim left a bookmakers shop with some winnings. Hanley demanded money off the victim while he lay on the ground and stood on his leg.

The victim's tibia bone was broken during the attack and he is no longer able to run. For some time after the robbery he was unable to walk and so could not go out with his “beloved dog”.

Hanley is receiving ongoing treatment for cancer and has had a lung surgically removed.

He was sentenced to five years imprisonment with the final two suspended by Judge Karen O’Connor on March 29, 2019, which was upheld by the Court of Appeal on Thursday. 

President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham said the sentence could not be regarded as severe. “Quite the contrary,” the judge added. 

He said violence was deployed and injury was inflicted. The Court of Appeal may have upheld an even higher sentence, had it been imposed.

Mr Justice Birmingham said the injured party had visited a bookies on Parnell Street to collect some winnings. He travelled towards Mountjoy Square before he was punched in the face and knocked to the ground. 

Hanley threatened the injured party that he had a knife and restrained him by standing on his leg.

Mr Justice Birmingham said Hanley had some 20 previous convictions including six for theft. 

His barrister, Garrett McCormack BL, said Hanley’s previous convictions were built up over a number of decades in the District Court, and none were for crimes of violence. 

He submitted that the headline sentence of eight years was excessively severe. 

Mr Justice Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, said an eight year headline sentence would be regarded as being at the higher end of the scale. But the ultimate sentence of three years could not be seen as severe. 

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Hanley and his family had raised €2,000 to offer the victim as a token of remorse but Mr O'Neill refused the offer.

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