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Sunday 17 February 2019

'Anthony did not get justice' - family of slain farmer 'relieved' as DPP challenges killer's sentence

Brother insists five-year jail term did not 'serve justice'

Michael Ferris. Photo By Domnick Walsh.
Michael Ferris. Photo By Domnick Walsh.
Feud: Michael Ferris (pictured) was jailed for five years for the manslaughter of his farming neighbour Anthony O’Mahony
Anthony O’Mahony

Ralph Riegel and Shane Phelan

The family of slain Kerry farmer Anthony O'Mahony are "relieved" the Director of Public Prosecutions has formally challenged the five-year jail term handed out to his killer.

Mr O'Mahony's brother, Seamus, said last night they were taking "some small comfort" from the fact the sentence imposed on Michael Ferris (63) earlier this month for manslaughter will now be reviewed.

Anthony O'Mahony (73) was killed when his car was rammed by a teleporter machine driven by Michael Ferris at Rattoo, Co Kerry, on April 4, 2017.

The elderly farmer - hailed as one of Ireland's foremost horticulture experts - suffered horrific injuries as most of his major organs were ripped out of his body by the steel prongs of the teleporter.

The sentence was imposed in the Central Criminal Court after Ferris was acquitted of Mr O'Mahony's murder at a Kerry trial last October.

Ferris claimed he had snapped that day after a long-running dispute over the noise caused by a crow banger on Mr O'Mahony's land.

However, Mr O'Mahony's family said his good name and reputation had been shredded during a hugely upsetting trial process.

"The entire court case and then the sentencing were very upsetting," Seamus O'Mahony said.

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Anthony O’Mahony
Anthony O’Mahony

"But it is a slight help that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is going to appeal the sentence.

"But we do not believe we received the justice we deserved.

"Anthony did not get justice."

Seamus said they were informed by gardaí on Thursday that the DPP would formally appeal the sentence as unduly lenient.

However, the family were informed the challenge to the alleged leniency of the sentence could take up to 12 months to resolve.

"We still believe this was a miscarriage of justice. But the DPP's action is some small comfort to us. It is a small help," said Mr O'Mahony.

Neighbours said the DPP's action came as no surprise.

"They always felt the five-year sentence was very lenient," one neighbour said.

"They [the O'Mahony family]don't want to go through the ordeal of hearing how Anthony died all over again, but they also want to see a sentence that somehow reflects the awful circumstances in which he was killed.

"They were very upset by the sentence and the fact that [Ferris] could return to his land here in just over two years' time."

Outside the sentencing hearing in Dublin, the O'Mahony family warned "justice has not been served".

Mr O'Mahony's niece, Marie, said the sentence was "disproportionate" to what had happened on April 4 and acknowledged her entire family were very upset by what had happened.

"We don't feel it [the sentence] is sufficient," she said.

Mr O'Mahony's nephew, James, also hit out at the five-year term imposed.

"We feel the sentence should have been higher and was disproportionate," he said.

Michael Ferris has been in custody since he was first charged before Tralee District Court.

His sentence was backdated to April 2017.

Irish Independent





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