Court to hear appeal against North Kerry farmer’s sentence for manslaughter

Michael Ferris. Photo by Aisling O'Brien / © Radio Kerry

An appeal against the sentence handed down to a North Kerry farmer for manslaughter will be heard early next month.

The appeal is being taken by the Director of Public Prosecutions for what she believes is the undue leniency of the sentence handed down to Michael Ferris of Rattoo, Ballyduff.

In November of last year, 63-year-old Michael Ferris of Rattoo, Ballyduff was found guilty by a jury of the manslaughter of Anthony O’Mahony at Rattoo on April 4th, 2017.

In December of last year, Ms Justice Carmel Stewart handed down a six-year sentence, with the final 12 months suspended for three years; additionally, the sentence was backdated to when Mr Ferris was taken into custody in April 2017.

Following this, the Director of Public Prosecutions lodged an appeal for undue leniency to the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal does not increase a sentence just because it thinks the sentence is short; it will only increase a sentence if it thinks the trial judge was wrong in law in giving such a light sentence.

The court’s judges – which comprise a Supreme Court judge and two High Court judges – will read the written record of the trial to see the trial judge’s reasons for giving a particular sentence.

They will consider a sentence ‘unduly lenient’ only if they believe the trial judge made a mistake on a legal point.

The appeal against the sentence imposed on Michael Ferris will be heard on December 2nd in Cork.