Saturday 1 October 2016

Man who drove car at person with whom he had apparently fallen out has jail term cut on appeal

Ruaidhrí Giblin

Published 16/04/2015 | 15:22

Gregory Shannon (35) pleaded guilty at Dundalk Circuit Criminal Court to reckless endangerment at a local car park on May 17 2012.
Gregory Shannon (35) pleaded guilty at Dundalk Circuit Criminal Court to reckless endangerment at a local car park on May 17 2012.

A Dundalk man who drove his car at a person with whom he had apparently fallen out has had his jail term cut by the Court of Appeal.

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Gregory Shannon (35) with an address at Afton Drive, Greenacres, Dundalk, pleaded guilty at Dundalk Circuit Criminal Court to reckless endangerment at a local car park on May 17 2012.

He was sentenced to three-and-a-half years imprisonment with the final year suspended by Judge Michael O'Shea on March 15 2014.

Speaking on behalf of the Court of Appeal today, Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan said “this indeed was the most serious” of offences. However there were exceptionally strong mitigating factors in the case for which Shannon did not appear to have been given sufficient credit.

Mr Justice Sheehan said there had been an apparent falling out between Shannon and the injured party.

On the occasion in question Shannon drove his car at the injured party, knocking him to the ground, causing him to have a sore back and pain to his leg and arms, the judge said.

Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Kevin Segrave BL, recalled one witness' evidence who stated that the car was “flying” and driving at speed.

“Fortunately" the injured party did not break any bones, Mr Justice Sheehan said.

The Court of Appeal agreed with Shannon's barrister, Lily Buckley BL, that the trial judge erred in foreclosing on the possibility of ordering Shannon to undertake community service.

Mr Justice Sheehan said the trial judge had fallen into further error when he failed to identify the specific aggravating factors apart form those inherent in the offence itself.

Furthermore, he said the trial judge at sentencing failed to give sufficient credit for the mitigating factors in the case. Those were: his plea, work record and impressive community activity since the commission of the offence.

In light of these findings, the Court of Appeal set aside Shannon's sentence and imposed a new sentence of three-and-a-half years imprisonment with the final two years suspended.

He was required to enter into his own bond of €500 to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for two years.

When asked if he undertook to be so bound, Shannon said “yes”.

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