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
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