Man given suspended sentence for abusing boy (7) will now serve two-year sentence following DPP appeal
A Galway native who was given a wholly suspended sentence for abusing a seven-year-old boy 30 years ago is to hand himself in to gardai on Monday after his original sentence was found too lenient.
Anthony Spellman (50), formerly of McHugh Avenue, Mervue in Galway, but who now resides in the UK, pleaded guilty to four sample counts of indecently assaulting a boy at his home and nearby locations on dates between January 1, 1985 and January 31, 1986.
He was given a wholly suspended 56 month sentence by Judge Rory McCabe at Galway Circuit Criminal Court on May 31, 2017.
The Director of Public Prosecutions successfully sought a review of Spellman’s sentence on grounds that it was “unduly lenient”. He is to hand himself into gardai in Galway on Monday to begin a new two year jail term.
Giving judgment in the three-judge Court of Appeal, Mr Justice Alan Mahon said the indecent assaults occurred when the victim was aged seven and Spellman aged 19.
Mr Justice Mahon said the abuse occurred three to four times a week over a period of approximately 12 months.
Spellman, a member of a large family, moved and emigrated to England shortly after the abuse occurred and he has resided there for about 30 years.
He was married but is now in another relationship. He had a good work record but was dismissed “directly as a consequence of his conviction” and lost a subsequent job when his new employer became aware of his conviction from the internet.
The judge said Spellman may have to move address in the UK because of knowledge of his conviction in the local area.
Mr Justice Mahon said Spellman had received a Risk of Sexual Harm Order (RoSHO) from South Cheshire Magistrates Court for sending explicit text messages to a 15-year-old boy. It expired in 2014 and would not have become a conviction unless he failed to comply with its terms. He apparently did not fail to comply.
Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Gerardine Small BL, submitted that the sentencing judge did not have due regard to the gravity of the offending and the circumstances surrounding the commission of the crime.
Ms Small said the injured party was at the tender age of seven when the abuse began. There was no early guilty plea - a jury had been empaneled for the week and it was only at that stage that Spellman pleaded guilty. There was no cooperation with gardai and no admissions were made. Spellman denied even knowing the injured party, Ms Small said.
Mr Justice Mahon said the suspension of the sentence in its entirety was unduly lenient.
He said the court took account of the fact that Spellman had been at liberty in the intervening period and his incarceration now would be a “severe disappointment” to him. The court prolonged the suspended period to a greater extent than it would have at first instance.
Mr Justice Mahon, who sat with Mr Justice John Edwards and Mr Justice John Hedigan, resentenced Spellman to 56 months imprisonment with the final 32 months suspended leaving him with a net jail term of two years.
He was required to enter into a good behaviour bond and he undertook to be so bound.
Spellman is to present himself to a garda station in Galway on Monday to begin his new jail term.