BY PETER DOYLE
A CONVICTED murderer who dragged his wife by her hair, hit her head off a table, punched her, kicked her and tried to pull her eyelashes off, before finally attempting to suffocate her at their home in Castletownbere, has again avoided further time in custody – even though the Court of Appeal this week ruled that his original suspended sentence had been unduly lenient.
Marius Rucinskas (45), formerly of Lithuania, but now residing in Cork city, had received an 18-month suspended sentence for the three-hour attack which took place on January 1st, 2020, at a house he shared with Renata Rucinskeine on Main Street, Castletownbere.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) later appealed the sentence handed down by Judge Sean Ó Donnabháin on the grounds that it was unduly lenient.
In papers submitted to the Court of Appeal, the DPP stated that Rucinskas pleaded guilty to a Section 3 assault causing harm against Ms Rucinskeine and a count of criminal damage when he appeared before Judge Ó Donnabháin at Cork Circuit Criminal Court in September 2021.
Brendan Kelly BL, for the DPP, told the three-judge court that Marius Rucinskas had waited until the day of his trial before entering his guilty pleas.
Mr Kelly said the respondent had carried out a ‘sustained assault in a domestic setting which involved punching, kicking, dragging the victim by the hair, hitting her head off a table, and trying to pull her eyelashes off’ as well as threats to kill Ms Rucinskeine.
When Ms Rucinskeine tried to raise the alarm and phone gardai, Rucinskas grabbed the mobile out of her hand and smashed it, counsel said.
Mr Kelly also told the court that Rucinskas had previously served 15 years for murder in his native Lithuania. He had moved to Ireland in 2015 on his release.
‘Looking at the entirety of the sentence imposed, it was unduly lenient,’ he said.
Delivering judgment, Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy said the Court of Appeal agreed with the DPP and was quashing the original sentence.
She said the offending had been at the ‘upper end of the scale’.
‘It must have been terrifying for the victim in question,’ she said.
But although the judge increased Rucinskas’ sentence from 18 months to three-and-a-half years, she suspended the final two years in a judgment which allowed the respondent to leave the court after entering a good behaviour bond, as a result of time he had previously served in custody.
Dermot Sheehan BL, for the respondent, said his client was now living in Cork city.