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'Lenient' sentence for pipe-bomb attack on Catholic man's home on Donegall Road will not be increased

A man who took part in a sectarian pipe-bomb attack will not have his suspended jail term increased – even though it has been ruled unduly lenient.

The Court of Appeal held that Gareth Edward Marcus' subsequent work in helping to steer youths away from making the same mistakes amounted to exceptional circumstances.

Marcus (23), of Martinville Park, Belfast, received a four-year jail term, suspended for three years, for his part in the attack on a Catholic man's home.

A firework-based device covered in nails was thrown through a broken window of the property in the city's Donegall Road area on July 13, 2010.

It exploded in a hallway as the victim was taking shelter.

Marcus was linked to the incident by DNA testing of a cut to his hand and blood found on broken glass in the house.

He was found guilty of possessing explosives with intent to endanger life and causing an explosion likely to endanger life.

Earlier this year he failed in a bid to have his convictions overturned.

Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory QC then referred the case to a panel of judges in the Court of Appeal, challenging the decision to impose a suspended prison sentence.

The appeal judges said "the exceptional circumstances" led them to allow the sentence to stand.

Belfast Telegraph