Colin Culhane arriving at Limerick Circuit Court in 2015
A SERIAL offender who got a suspended consecutive term for committing burglaries while on bail has been given an extra year in jail following an appeal by prosecutors.
Colin Culhane (35), with an address at Courtbrack Accomodation, in Limerick, had pleaded guilty at Limerick Circuit Criminal Court to eight counts of burglary relating to an eight month period in 2014.
He was given concurrent five year sentences on counts 1-6 and wholly suspended consecutive terms of two years for the remaining two counts by Judge Tom O'Donnell on October 1, 2015.
The Director of Public Prosecutions successfully sought a review of Culhane's sentence this Monday on grounds that it was “unduly lenient”. Culhane was effectively given an extra year in jail following a fresh sentence hearing.
Giving judgment in the three-judge Court of Appeal, Mr Justice John Edwards said Culhane was a chronic drug addict, who had 71 previous convictions including 37 for burglary. The present offences were committed while Culhane was subjected to two “lengthy” suspended sentences.
Counsel for the DPP, Timothy O'Sullivan BL, submitted that the sentencing judge erred in suspending the entirety of the consecutive two year terms.
Mr Justice Edwards said the Court of Appeal agreed. He said the express policy of the legislature is that sentences for offences committed while on bail should attract consecutive sentences and they should involve “at least some element of actual custody”.
Mr Justice Edwards, who sat with Mr Justice Alan Mahon and Mr Justice John Hedigan, said the court was satisfied that the sentencing judge erred in principle.
In respect of the consecutive terms, the Court of Appeal resentenced Culhane to three years imprisonment with the final two years suspended.
Mr Justice Edwards said Culhane must serve a year in custody consecutive to the five year sentences imposed in respect of the first six counts.