COURT

Drink driver who knocked down three elderly men after burglary spree withdraws appeal after hearing sentence could increase

Ruaidhrí Giblin

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Ruaidhrí Giblin

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Drink driver who knocked down three elderly men after burglary spree withdraws appeal after hearing sentence could increase

A drink driver who knocked down three elderly men with his car after a burglary spree has withdrawn an appeal against his eight year sentence after being told his sentence could also be increased.

Michael Sheehan (29) of Cliona Park, Moyross in Limerick pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm to the gentlemen on their way home from regular pitch and putt in County Clare on September 25, 2014. 

Then 79-year-old former Limerick hurler Eric Ryan lost a leg while William Barry, a retired garda who was also in his 70s, suffered bleeding to the brain. A third man in his 70s, Dermot O’Brien, escaped injury and has since passed away.

Sheehan, who had more than 50 previous convictions, also pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary on the same date. He had admitted consuming eight bottles of cider and a naggin of vodka in the hours before the incident.

Judge Tom O’Donnell sentenced Sheehan to five years imprisonment at Limerick Circuit Criminal Court on October 1, 2015. He also imposed a concurrent 12-month term for the two burglaries. 

Judge O’Donnell made the five-year term consecutive to a three-year sentence he imposed on Sheehan for another burglary in May 2014.

Sheehan was due to appeal the severity of his sentence on Monday. 

However, before the case came on for hearing, President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice George Birmingham reminded Sheehan’s lawyers that the court had power to increase sentences as well as decrease them. 

Mr Justice Birmingham referred to a recent landmark judgment on burglaries of the home as well as burglary “sprees”. Added to that, the judge said, was Sheehan’s dangerous driving and the “horrendous consequences” that were suffered. 

After taking instructions, Sheehan’s barrister Keith Spencer BL said his client wished to withdraw his appeal. The court so ordered.