A teenager who pleaded guilty last year to murdering his friend Glen "Ossie" Osborne has lost an appeal against the severity of his sentence of life imprisonment with a review after 10 years.
James Dwyer SC for the 17-year-old, who can't be named because he is a minor, had argued before the three-judge Court of Appeal that the sentencing judge, Mr Justice Paul McDermott, did not give enough consideration to his client's remorse, his early guilty plea and his efforts at rehabilitation.
Counsel said that another teenager who was found guilty of a planned and unprovoked murder and who showed no remorse, received the same sentence as his client. Mr Dwyer further submitted that the sentencing judge had placed too much emphasis on aggravating factors, including that the accused brought the knife to the scene.
The teenager pleaded guilty in August last year to the murder of Glen 'Ossie' Osborne (20) at Ballybough House, Ballybough, Dublin on April 15th 2020. Mr Osborne's partner Lauren Cray gave birth to their first child two months after his death.
Delivering the judgment of the Court of Appeal today Mr Justice Seamus Woulfe said there was "no error in principle by the sentencing judge". He said the offence was "very serious" and the judge was entitled to find that the bringing of the knife to the scene was a significant aggravating factor, "which meant that this was offending of such seriousness that it had to be met with a significant custodial sentence."
Mr Justice Woulfe further noted that Mr Justice McDermott had given "significant credit" to the appellant for his early guilty plea, remorse and other mitigating factors.
The sentencing judge had also been anxious to build rehabilitation into the sentencing regime and did so by ordering reports to be drawn up every two years by psychiatrists, psychologists and other relevant professionals, he said. Those documents will be available to the Central Criminal Court when the offender comes before it for a sentence review after he has spent ten years in custody.
Mr Justice Woulfe found that while the previous case involving a teenager who committed murder and showed no remorse is a "relevant comparator", he said the outcome in that case "cannot necessarily be decisive in a later case."
He said the sentence imposed by Mr Justice McDermott was "within the range of sentence available to the sentencing judge, given the serious offending involved." While another judge might have imposed a different sentence, Mr Justice Woulfe said that for the Court of Appeal to intervene they would need to be convinced that the sentence imposed was outside the available range.
Mr Justice Woulfe, sitting with President of the court Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice John Edwards, dismissed the appeal.