Longford teen jailed over "savage and barbaric" St Patrick's Day knife attack to appeal sentence

Liam Cosgrove

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Liam Cosgrove

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liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Man and two juveniles appear in court over Longford St Patrick's Day stabbing

A man sentenced to ten years for the assault of another man in Longford town last year is to appeal the sentence handed down by the courts.

A teenager jailed for ten years almost three weeks ago for the “savage and barbaric” attack on a Portuguese man, which left him scarred for life, is to appeal the severity of his sentence.

Brandon McDonnell, of 34 College Park, Longford was sentenced to ten years in prison, two of which were suspended, after the 18-year-old pleaded guilty to slashing 37-year-old Vitor Vieira multiple times in the face on St Patrick's Day 2017.

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Such was the severity of the injuries sustained by the construction worker, he lost part of his nose and ear. The ferocity of the assault also caused the handle of the knife to break.

Mr McDonnell's older brother, Ciaran (20) was sentenced to eight years in prison, two of which were also suspended for his role in the assault on Mr Vieira.

A third individual, who cannot be named as he is under the age of 18, is currently in Oberstown Detention Centre pending sentencing later this year.

In giving his verdict at last month's sitting of Longford Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Keenan Johnston noted how a probation service report undertaken on the two McDonnell brothers deemed them both to be at a “high risk of re-offending”, citing their lack of education, employment, addiction issues and aggression levels as contributory factors.

At a sitting of Longford District Court last week, Brandon McDonnell was sentenced to nine months in prison for two separate phone thefts during which a knife described as a “butcher's cleaver” was produced.

This, the prosecution stated had been used by a co-accused, resulting in both phones being handed over by the victims.

Judge Seamus Hughes handed down a nine month sentence, a term he ordered to run concurrently to the one delivered in the Circuit Court.

As he did so, the Mayo born judge asked how Mr McDonnell was adjusting to his new life behind bars and whether he intended appealing the ten year sentence issued by Judge Johnston.

“Yeah,” he said, when asked directly by the judge.

“I spoke to a solicitor already about it.”

That didn't stop Judge Hughes from offering his view on the two McDonnell brothers as they now face up to a combined total of 18 years in jail.

“I consider them very serious offenders despite their young age,” he said.

Judge Hughes, not for the first time, also took aim at the parental guidance that the pair had been afforded.

“I criticised their father who is not here (in court) for the time I saw the most frightening photo on Facebook surrounded by his children in a sort of mobster pose,” he said.

Defence solicitor John Quinn said his client was attempting to confront his anger management issues through counselling.

“He is hoping to come out a better person,” said Mr Quinn.

Judge Hughes said, however, there was no excuses for Mr McDonnell's culpability when assessing the two phone thefts in front of him.

“It's not rocket science,” he bluntly told Mr McDonnell.

“If you commit the crime and are detected, you will do the time.

“Going around with a cleaver like that in broad daylight is disgraceful.”