Regina v O’Neill: CANI 1984

The court gave sentencing guidelines for offences of robbery. Gibson LJ said: ‘In circumstances such as obtain nowadays in Northern Ireland where firearms are frequently used to rob banks and post offices this Court would re-affirm that a sentence of 13 years or upwards should not now be considered outside the norm for a deterrent sentence for this type of offence. Indeed, it would be appropriate for a judge to regard a sentence within the range of 10 to 13 years as a starting point for consideration, which sentences may be increased if there is a high degree of planning and organisation, or if force is actually used, or if the accused has been involved in more than one such crime. Equally it would be appropriate to reduce the sentence if the degree of preparation or the efficiency of performance is low, or if the money and weapons have been recovered, or if the accused has shown contrition and pleaded guilty to the charge, or if there are other special features which ought to be treated as grounds for reduction of the penalty.’


Gibson LJ


[1984] 13 NIJB

Cited by:

CitedRegina v Colhoun CANI 1988
The Court affirmed a sentence of 10 years imprisonment for the armed robbery of andpound;50 from a small shop: ‘Since the judgment of this court in R -v- O’Neill there has been no diminution in the number of armed robberies. They are very serious . .
CitedRooney and Others, Re Attorney General’s Reference (Number 1 of 2005) CANI 11-Nov-2005
The defendants had been convicted or armed robbery. The Attorney General appealed against the sentences saying they were too lenient. Rooney argued that his plea of guilty had been after an indication by the judge and the reference was misguided. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Northern Ireland, Criminal Sentencing

Updated: 30 April 2022; Ref: scu.234981