Dean Carey, 21, who stabbed to death an intruder who attacked him in his home in the middle of the night, has been jailed for three-and-a-half years at the Central Criminal Court.

Mr Justice Paul McDermott said Carey was entitled to use force to protect himself, his family and his home, but the force he used was “grossly” excessive given the victim, Jack Power, was unarmed.

Given that Carey was 17 at the time, had shown genuine remorse and that he did not expect or instigate the night’s violence, the judge sentenced him to four years and six months, with the final year suspended for two years. Sentencing is backdated to June 30 this year to account for the time Carey has already spent in custody.

Dean Carey (21), of St Brigid’s Square, Portarlington in Ca Laois, had twice been tried for murder but was convicted by a jury of manslaughter for murdering Mr Power after the deceased entered his Shanakiel home in Dunmore- East, Waterford on the morning of 26 July 2018.

Sentencing on Wednesday, Judge McDermott said in statements made to the court, Jack Power’s family said they felt their son had no voice in the courtroom. According to the judge, the trials focus on rules and evidence and provide “cold comfort to relatives whose loss is profound and lifelong.”

He described the deceased as an “exceptionally hard-working young man” who loved his job as a fisherman and was “encouraged by his father’s encouragement”. He was a role model and cheerful companion to his brothers and his loss is “incalculable”. He added: “Nothing I do or say will ease this suffering. The sentence I pass must be proportionate to the gravity of the manslaughter, as well as commensurate with it [Kerrie’s] circumstances”.

Car damage

The court heard that Jack Power had been drinking since early morning and saw damage to his car at around 3am which he believed was caused by Dean Carey.

He went into Carey’s house, took a rock and broke the front window of Carey’s house. He then entered through the front door. Judge McDermott said Mr Power attacked Dean Carey in his bedroom and it was believed he also assaulted Carey’s mother. Kerry told gardai he found a knife by the bed and stabbed Mr Power during the melee.

Judge McDermott said he did not believe the court had heard the truth about “the origin of the knife and how it was found, but he quickly armed himself” and used the knife.

Judge McDermott said: “I have to take into account the nature of what happened that night. The Oireachtas has recognized the special position of those who have a duty to defend themselves or their property against unlawful attack, particularly in their own home. Therefore, this is a question that must be taken into account when considering the guilt of the accused. Those who are assaulted in their home have the right to use force, sometimes deadly force, to defend themselves and their home.”

Without warning

He said Carey’s case was different from carrying a concealed knife in public, and therefore the defendant’s case attracted a lesser sentence. Kerry did not instigate the attack and could not have expected it. He was at home when he was attacked “without warning” by Mr Power, who threw a large rock through the front window of the house and trespassed.

The judge also noted that Mr Power was a tall, well-built man, while Carey was frail and younger. But the jury’s verdict showed Carey used excessive force when he stabbed Mr Power and the fact Mr Power was unarmed was an aggravating factor, the judge said.

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Carey was a juvenile when the crime occurred, and if convicted as a juvenile, he would be subject to a regime that focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment, the judge said.

According to the judge, an adult who committed the same crime faces seven years in prison. Taking into account Carey’s age and the “difficult and stressful situation created by the deceased which was not of his making”, he put the headline at five years and six months.

He further mitigated this by taking into account Carey’s remorse and that he immediately contacted the emergency services after being injured and accepted responsibility for causing the fatal wound.

Carey is considered to have a moderate risk of committing violent crimes in the future, so he will be required to work with probation services and undergo anger and violence management if deemed necessary after his release.