A judge may decide to publish a statement after passing sentence on an accused in cases where there is particular public interest; where a case has legal significance; or where providing the reasons for the decision might assist public understanding.
Please note that statements may include graphic details of offences when it is necessary to fully explain the reasons behind a sentencing decision.
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When deciding a sentence, a judge must deal with the offence that the offender has been convicted of, taking into account the unique circumstances of each particular case. The judge will carefully consider the facts that are presented to the Court by both the prosecution and by the defence.
Read more about victims of crime and sentencing.
HMA v Peter Conoboy
Aug 4, 2020
On sentencing, Lord Matthews made the following statement in court:
“You pleaded guilty at a Preliminary Hearing to what amounted to a bomb hoax by placing a suspicious package in the foyer of a multi-occupant residential building on 12 December 2019, the day of the last General Election.
The package, which was an Adidas shoe box containing a number of objects, was discovered about 0050 hours and the police and Explosive Ordinance Department were called. A community room was due to be used as a polling station but the polling station had to be moved. Residents on the ground, first and second floors were evacuated, which must have been extremely irritating as well as frightening, given that it was in the early hours of the morning.
The device was destroyed in a controlled explosion and investigations showed that it was a fake but it had all the appearances of a viable device, leading to the involvement of the authorities at what must have been considerable expense and inconvenience. They have enough to do without being called out for this kind of thing.
I have listened to what has been said on your behalf and considered the contents of the reports which have been submitted. They throw no light on your motivation. You have had some problems with mental health as evidenced by your suicide attempt but you have not been diagnosed as suffering from any mental illness. The only conclusion I can draw is that this episode was caused or at least contributed to by gross intoxication, which, as Mr Lavelle has recognised, is no excuse.
A custodial sentence is required in this case in order to make it plain that this type of conduct will not be tolerated. I have been referred to a number of cases where the Courts have been called upon to pass sentence in circumstances which have certain similarities to this case but each case turns on its own facts.
Had this case gone to trial I would have imprisoned you for a period of 3 years.
In view of the timing of your plea, the sentence will be one of imprisonment for 2 years and 3 months to run from 13 December 2019.”
4 August 2020