A farmer con­victed of the man­slaugh­ter of his neigh­bour has had four years added to his jail term:

Man drove tele­porter into neigh­bour’s car af­ter row over bird-scar­ing de­vice Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions ap­pealed le­niency of man­slaugh­ter sen­tence

The Irish Times - - Front Page - BARRY ROCHE South­ern Correspond­ent

A farmer con­victed of the man­slaugh­ter of a 73-year-old neigh­bour by driv­ing the prongs of an agri­cul­tural tele­porter into his car in a row over a de­vice for scar­ing birds has had his jail term in­creased from five to nine years.

Michael Fer­ris (64) from Rat­too, Bal­ly­duff, Co Kerry had been sen­tenced in December 2018 to six years, with one year sus­pended, for the man­slaugh­ter of An­thony O’Ma­hony at Bal­ly­duff, on April 4th, 2017.

Fer­ris had been charged with Mr O’Ma­hony’s mur­der. A jury at the Cen­tral Crim­i­nal Court sit­ting in Tralee in Oc­to­ber 2018 ac­quit­ted him of the mur­der charge but found him guilty of Mr O’Ma­hony’s man­slaugh­ter.


Ms Jus­tice Carmel Ste­wart said the ap­pro­pri­ate head­line sen­tence was 12 years but, with dis­counts for his lack of pre­vi­ous con­vic­tion and to in­cen­tivise re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, re­duced the term to six years with the fi­nal year sus­pended.

Yes­ter­day, the Court of Crim­i­nal Ap­peal, sit­ting in Cork for the first time, quashed the net five-year sen­tence and re­placed it with a nine-year term back­dated to when Fer­ris went into cus­tody in December 2018.

Fer­ris killed Mr O’Ma­hony by driv­ing his tele­porter, a piece of farm ma­chin­ery with prongs or forks at the front, into Mr O’Ma­hony’s car, fa­tally in­jur­ing the de­ceased, who suf­fered hor­ren­dous in­juries.

The trial had heard the killing stemmed from a row be­tween the par­ties over Mr O’Ma­hony’s use of a crow-banger when plant­ing and har­vest­ing crops on an out­side hold­ing at Rat­too, which had an­noyed lo­cal peo­ple in­clud­ing Fer­ris.

The Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions had ap­pealed the le­niency of Ms Jus­tice Ste­wart’s net five-year term and, de­liv­er­ing the judg­ment of the Court of Crim­i­nal Ap­peal, Mr Jus­tice Ge­orge Ber­ming­ham said it did not re­flect the se­ri­ous­ness of the crime.

“There was a de­gree of pre-con­sid­er­a­tion – he had been think­ing of it for a few days so there was an ele­ment of pre­med­i­ta­tion – tak­ing that with the gross level of vi­o­lence in­volved, it has to be placed at the high end of man­slaugh­ter cases,” he said.

“Here there was an in­ten­tion to kill. A sen­tence of six years with one sus­pended sim­ply failed to re­flect the enor­mity of what oc­curred – the tak­ing of a hu­man life.”

He set a head­line sen­tence of 15 years, dis­counted by no more than one-third and tak­ing pre­vi­ous good char­ac­ter into con­sid­er­a­tion, im­posed the back­dated sen­tence of nine years.

Michael Fer­ris was ac­quit­ted of mur­der but found guilty of man­slaugh­ter

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