A bail drug addict who repeatedly stabbed another woman over a €50 note in a “barbaric” attack a judge has likened to “films depicting the worst human behavior” is on trial failed to overturn her eight-year sentence.
The Court of Appeal found that the assault was aggravated by a sexual element, amounting to a “humiliating assault on intimate parts of the body.”
Martina Rooney, 40, believed the woman had money on her when the ongoing attack took place in Dublin’s Temple Bar area two years ago.
She was sentenced to eight years in prison in July 2021.
Medical reports presented to the court stated that the victim suffered “extensive bruising on her face” and lacerations on her back, buttocks and thighs.
Rooney and the victim were together in Temple Bar on the afternoon of June 13 when the defendant discovered she was missing a €50 note.
Rooney suspected the woman had the money and physically searched her on the sidewalk, stripping her of her clothes in the process.
Rooney began beating the woman and used a tool to stab her multiple times on the head and body.
Speaking to the Court of Appeal, Barry White SC said his client was someone who “had few opportunities in life” and had struggled with a hard drug addiction for years.
Mr White said his client carried drugs for her mother at a young age, had a limited education and was “born into circumstances” that led to her drug addiction.
He said substance abuse has negative effects on the mind and that abusers do not fully rationalize their actions.
The attorney argued that the trial judge erred in setting the primary sentence at 12 years before mitigation and not giving enough weight to rehabilitation.
Mr White said Rooney’s recorded convictions leading up to the attack had been dealt with at the district court level and this was her first time in a district court.
The attorney said his client had pleaded guilty, was off methadone and was taking certified courses in prison.
Justice John Edwards, presiding over the non-assize court, said that “the victim’s intimate parts were outrageously injured”.
He said the court also found that the victim had been stabbed in the eye.
Ms. Monika Leech BL for the state said the trial judge made no mistake in identifying 12 years as the main sentence and that mitigation gave Rooney a “generous” rebate that reduced the sentence by three years.
Ms Leech said the 18-month suspension, during which Rooney is to work with probation services, showed the judge gave enough weight to rehabilitation after a “barbaric assault”.
In dismissing the appeal, Judge Patrick McCarthy said the offense of assault causing serious harm carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
He said Rooney displayed a “complete lack of control” and that the assault was compounded by the sexual element, amounting to a “humiliating assault on intimate parts of the body.”
Mr Justice McCarthy said the trial judge was not wrong in identifying the headline phrase, nor did he give sufficient weight to rehabilitation.
He said the trial judge was very concerned about paying attention to the applicant’s difficult circumstances, who had shown “appreciable improvement”. He said the court will dismiss the appeal.
Rooney’s co-defendant Karl Fishe, 36, was sentenced to two years in prison for his involvement in the robbery.
Rooney, with an address at Stanhope Green, Stanhope Street, Dublin 7, pleaded guilty in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to committing assault and robbery on 13 June 2020 in Adare Lane and Price’s Lane, both Dublin 2.
At the time of her pleading, she had a 73 criminal record and was on bail for theft at the time of the attack.
Fishe, with an address at Ashgrove, The Coombe, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty to assault charges on the same day.
He had 124 criminal records.
While hearing the verdict, Judge Elma Sheahan noted the “brutality” of the assault and Rooney’s “continuous beating and stabbing” of the victim. She compared the attack to films depicting “the worst human behavior”.
The judge sentenced Rooney to nine years in prison, with the last 12 months suspended on strict conditions, taking into account charges of robbery.
The victim said her “whole life” changed after the attack.
A phone, several social security cards and a sum of 175 euros were taken from the victim, which were never provided.
https://www.independent.ie/news/on-bail-drug-addict-who-repeatedly-stabbed-another-woman-in-a-row-over-50-fails-to-overturn-eight-year-jail-sentence-42066477.html Drug addict on bail who repeatedly stabbed another woman in a row for over $50 cannot quash eight-year jail sentence