Tuesday 6 December 2016

Car thief who mounted pedestrian island on O'Connell Bridge before crashing in Temple Bar loses appeal

Ruaidhrí Giblin

Published 28/07/2016 | 16:51

Leonard Dumbrell
Leonard Dumbrell

A car thief who mounted the median on O'Connell Bridge before crashing in Temple Bar has lost a sentence appeal.

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Dublin native Leonard Dumbrell (28), with an address at Clonattin Village, Gorey, Co Wexford, had pleaded guilty to car theft and two counts of dangerous driving in Dublin City Centre on January 2, 2013.

He was sentenced at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three years imprisonment and disqualified from driving for five years by Judge Mary Ellen Ring on July 30, 2015.

Dismissing Dumbrell's appeal against sentence today, Mr Justice Alan Mahon said Dumbrell had gotten into a car and drove away after the owner had left his vehicle with the engine running. There had been no confrontation.

Shortly afterwards, the stolen car was seen in Ringsend by a garda who switched on his lights and gave chase.

Dumbrell sped off, broke a red light, made illegal turns, weaved dangerously through traffic, mounted a pedestrian median on O'Connell Bridge and crashed in Temple Bar.

Mr Justice Mahon said Dumbrell, who had 108 previous convictions, ran but was arrested a short distance away.

His barrister, John Berry BL, submitted that the sentencing judge failed to adequately structure the sentence to provide for rehabilitation.

In the Court of Appeal's view, three years was “lenient” having regard to Dumbrell's lengthy list of relevant previous convictions.

It was clear from the moment the case initially came before the Circuit Court judge that rehabilitation was foremost in her mind, Mr Justice Mahon said.

When he pleaded guilty, sentencing was adjourned for a month and later adjourned again. Unfortunately, Mr Justice Mahon said Dumbrell's efforts to remain drug free during the second period were “unsuccessful”.

In June 2014, he was remanded in custody having breached bail conditions.

Mr Justice Mahon, who sat with Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice John Edwards, said the Court of Appeal was satisfied that the “suggested error did not occur”.

Three years was within the sentencing judge's discretion and the “leniency” of the sentence more than adequately reflected the mitigating factors present in the case.

“It represented a relatively short custodial term having regard to the gravity of the offence”.

The appeal was therefore dismissed.

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