Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Sentences for duo over single-punch killing ‘too lenient’

United: Nigel Dodds MP meets Ella Coiley at his Shore Road constituency office
Victim: Kevin Coiley

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds has called on the Attorney General to urgently review “lenient sentences” handed down to two men involved in the one-punch manslaughter of a Newtownabbey man.

Kevin Coiley (45), from the Longlands area, died in December 2007.

Ciaran Corbett was jailed for two years and nine months for manslaughter, while his brother Michael Corbett walked free after Mr Justice Stephens handed down a six-month suspended sentence for assault in February.

Mr Dodds has sent a letter to Baroness Scotland demanding a review of the sentences.

Mr Coiley’s widow Ella, who has been campaigning for a review of the sentencing as well as the Northern Ireland judicial system, welcomed the move. Mr Dodds said: “From the information presented to me these sentences appear to be extremely light. The family are rightly concerned about their leniency.

“There is a clear public interest in ensuring that sentences fit the severity of crime.

“Therefore I would be very happy to see the Public Prosecution Service refer this matter to the Attorney General and I would strongly support calls for the Attorney General to get the courts to look again at the length of the sentences in this case.”

Mr Coiley was struck on the side of the head while at the British Legion Club at Old Church Road in December 2007, where a year before he had celebrated his wedding reception.

Earlier that day Michael Corbett was thrown out of the club after trying to start a fight with Mr Coiley.

After a phone call from Michael Corbett’s wife, Ciaran Corbett walked into the premises and punched Mr Coiley without warning.

He smashed his head off the jukebox and the floor and died in front of his wife hours later.

Mrs Coiley said the latest move has given her hope.

“I was outraged after the sentences were handed down.

“The impact lenient sentences have on the victim’s family is just devastating. We are left feeling that there is no justice, and without your loved one.

“I have to cope without my husband, but those two men will be out of jail and can get on with their lives — that isn’t justice. “I am still filled with anger about what happened. His fist was a lethal weapon.”

The move comes after Attorney General Baroness Scotland said she was not going to review the sentences of those involved in the murder of west Belfast man Harry Holland.

Last month Stephen McKee (18), of Ballymurphy Road, Belfast, was sentenced to a minimum of 12 years for the murder.

Mrs Coiley said: “I am determined to fight on. I am hopeful the Attorney General will listen to Mr Dodds and review the sentences.”

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