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Convicted paedophile Bill Kenneally loses appeal for reduced sentence

Kenneally had been sentenced to 14 years and two months for abusing 10 teenage boys in the 1980s.

File picture of Kenneally in the 80s
File picture of Kenneally in the 80s
Image: With permission from RTE

THE COURT OF Appeal has upheld the prison sentence imposed on former sports coach Bill Kenneally for abusing 10 teenage boys in the 1980s.

Kenneally (67), with an address at Summerville Avenue, Waterford City, had pleaded guilty to ten sample counts of indecently assaulting ten boys at various location in Waterford in the 1980s.

Kenneally was originally charged with 70 counts spanning dates in the 1970s and 1980s.

He was sentenced at Waterford Circuit Criminal Court to 14 years and two months imprisonment by Judge Eugene O’Kelly in February 2016.

The Court of Appeal heard that the sentencing judge imposed consecutive 17 month sentences in respect of each of the ten victims.

Kenneally’s lawyers submitted that the sentence was “grossly excessive” and that the sentencing judge erred in appearing “vengeful” – inappropriately addressing his mind to redress for victims.

However, the Court of Appeal held today that while “perhaps at the very outer limit in terms of severity, (the sentence) did not fall outside” the range available to the sentencing judge.

Mr Justice George Birmingham said the three-judge court did not believe the sentencing judge erred in concluding that the offending in respect of each complainant merited a headline sentence of two years, nor that the sentencing judge erred in deciding to reduce each individual sentence by seven months (from 24) to reflect the mitigating circumstances.

“We have concluded that the sentence arrived at while severe, and indeed while certainly at the upper end of the available range, was not so severe as to constitute an error in principle”.

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About the author:

Ruaidhrí Giblin

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