We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Court of Appeal

Man who hacked sleeping teen with machete to serve extra two years following State objection

Dean Dullaghan was convicted by a jury in June 2022 of causing serious harm and aggravated burglary on 23 January 2020.

A VIOLENT OFFENDER who broke into a teenager’s home and attacked him with a machete as he slept, causing permanent damage to the victim’s hand, will serve an extra two years in prison after the State objected to the undue leniency of his four-year sentence.

At the Court of Appeal today, Ms Justice Úna Ní Raifeartaigh said that Circuit Court Judge Dara Hayes had erred in setting the headline sentence against Dean Dullaghan (25) at eight years before reducing this to six and a half years with the final two and a half years suspended.

Quashing this sentence, Ms Justice Ní Raifeartaigh set a headline sentence of 10 years before imposing a sentence of eight and a half years with the final two and a half years suspended, meaning Dullaghan will serve six years in prison.

Dullaghan, of Saltown Place, Bellewsbridge Road, Dundalk, was convicted by a jury in June 2022 of causing serious harm and aggravated burglary, at Castleross, Castletown Road, Dundalk on 23 January 2020.

Outlining the background to the case, Ms Justice Ní Raifeartaigh said that the respondent and the injured party had a falling out some months before the attack.

On 23 January 2020, the injured party, who was 16 at the time, was asleep in his bed, when he was woken up by someone hitting him. He thought at first that he was being hit with an iron bar, but it was a machete that Dullaghan used.

Dullaghan was hacking at the victim, causing a cut to his knee, before he tried to hit him on the head, but the injured party raised his hand and was struck on the forearm. He screamed, which alerted his sister, who then told Dullaghan to leave.

Ms Justice Ní Raifeartaigh said that the overall function of the victim’s right hand was permanently impacted, and he was left with significant scarring across his arm, which required surgery and treatment.

The injured party declined to give a victim impact statement and declined to attend the trial, although his statement was admitted into evidence.

Dullaghan had nine previous convictions.

Ms Justice Ní Raifeartaigh said that the position of the Director of Public Prosecutions was that the trial judge had set the headline sentence of eight years too low by reason of the respondent’s age, who was 20 at the time of the offence.

She said the Court of Appeal was of the view that the judge erred in principle by doing this. Dullaghan was a young adult at the time of normal intelligence, so Ms Justice Ní Raifeartaigh said that the headline sentence should have been selected as appropriate for an adult.

Saying that eight years was not an appropriate headline sentence for a very violent offence such as this and was unduly lenient, the judge said that the court would quash the original sentence and proceed to resentencing.

Ms Justice Ní Raifeartaigh said that a more appropriate headline sentence would be 10 years. Taking into account all mitigating factors, the judge reduced this by 18 months to eight and a half years with the final two and a half years suspended, making a total custodial sentence of six years.

Dullaghan entered a bond to keep the peace and be of good behaviour after his release, as well as engage with the probation services.

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.