A man who repeatedly stabbed his partner with a knife and left her in hospital for three weeks faces an extra year in prison after the Court of Appeal ruled today that his original 33-month sentence was too lenient.
eith Malone (40), Barnashrone, Mountmellick, Co Laois, was charged with assault and publication of an article in Athy, Co Kildare on 6 January 2019.
That day, he stabbed his partner four times with a knife, causing injuries including a damaged liver, collapsed lung, fractured rib and lacerated elbow.
He was sentenced by the Naas Circuit Court on January 19, 2022 to three years in prison, with the last three months suspended for a 12-month period.
Malone pleaded guilty to both counts.
The state successfully argued today that the original sentence was unduly lenient and Malone’s sentence was extended to four years, with the final three months suspended.
Counsel for the chief of prosecutions, Thomas O’Malley SC, submitted that although the five-year primary sentence handed down by the sentencing judge was justified and the defendant was entitled to mitigation, the final sentence was unduly lenient given the severity of the offence .
Mr O’Malley said the offense was at the high end of the scale of attacks that cause damage, as the victim was stabbed four times and suffered internal injuries, requiring a three-week hospital stay.
Defense attorney Kathleen Leader SC had said her client’s early plea of guilty reduced the administrative burden of the case.
“A trial date was never set, so there was never an issue of whether people should prepare for the trial,” she said.
Ms Leader said the trial judge placed the offense at the high end of the scale and assigned a principal sentence of five years, but the judge then took into account her client’s early plea of guilty.
Before the three-judge Court of Appeals today, Ms. Judge Aileen Donnelly said the court would overturn the original verdict.
Ms Justice Donnelly said the aggravating factors in the case were the breach of trust in the offence, the manufacture of a weapon and the high levels of intoxication involved. She added that the victim should not be afraid in his own home.
Ms Justice Donnelly said the trial judge took into account the defendant’s remorse, cooperation with the services and guilty plea, and discounted 20 months of an original 60-month sentence as mitigation.
Trial Judge Mrs. Mary O’Malley Costello stayed the final three months of what would eventually become a three-year sentence to allow for rehabilitation.
Ms Justice Donnelly said there was “no doubt” the offense was at the “highest end of the higher range” when a five-year principal sentence was found.
The judge said while the guilty plea was accepted as early, it was not offered at the earliest opportunity.
Ms Justice Donnelly said Malone had already served a prison sentence for assault and therefore could not claim mitigation of past good character at the time of his sentencing.
Ms Justice Donnelly said a total of “45 per cent” had been deducted from the five-year principal sentence.
The judge said the appeals court would overturn the 33-month sentence as “unreasonably lenient” and resentencing Malone.
Ms Justice Donnelly then identified five years as the correct principal sentence for offenses of “extreme seriousness” and deferred one year of that as mitigation before suspending the final three months for two years.
At the appeal hearing, Mr O’Mally said Malone was “entitled to a certain percentage of the reduction, but 25 percent would be more appropriate than 40 percent”.
“If the headline read 60 months, was a one-third reduction justified? I would say no
“The usual rate for a lawsuit is 10 to 30 percent. In this case there was no justification for setting the reduction at the highest rate,” Mr O’Malley said.
Ms Leader had said it was Malone’s credit for taking the victim to a neighbor’s house after the attack and calling an ambulance, and he said he stabbed her.
She said Malone has since engaged with the parole service and the MEND domestic abuse program.
She said the victim was not brought to justice and Malone has done a lot of work in custody, having completed two levels of a course on domestic violence and anger management.
https://www.independent.ie/news/man-who-repeatedly-stabbed-his-partner-with-a-knife-will-face-longer-prison-sentence-after-appeal-42117413.html Man who repeatedly stabbed his partner with a knife faces longer prison sentence after appeal