Former Tyrone GAA star Sean Hackett to appeal sentence for manslaughter of father

Sean Hackett
Sean Hackett

A former Tyrone GAA star who shot dead his father may seek to introduce fresh evidence as part of attempts to have his jail term reduced, a court heard today.

Sean Hackett is set to appeal the minimum 10-year prison sentence imposed for the killing, claiming it is unduly excessive.

The 20-year-old was convicted last year of the manslaughter of Aloysius Hackett on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

A jury found him guilty after acquitting him of murdering his father at the family home near Augher, Co Tyrone in January 2013.

He was ordered to serve at least 10 years of a life sentence before being considered for parole.

However, Hackett’s legal team are due to challenge the sentence on the grounds that it does not adequately reflect his mental state at the time of the killing.

The victim, a former chairman of St Macartan’s GAC in Augher, was shot twice in the head on the driveway of his Aghindarrah Road home.

Sean Hackett, who previously captained the Tyrone Minor GAA team, admitted carrying out the shooting but consistently denied murder.

At his trial it was set out that he had suffered depression in the months before he killed his father, triggered by a split from his girlfriend.

With his challenge to the sentence set to be heard in April, judges in the Court of Appeal were told today that a consultant psychiatrist has examined him on three occasions.

Defence counsel Desmond Fahy also confirmed the medical expert has met other members of the Hackett family.

Asked by Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan if he intended to try to introduce new evidence, the barrister replied: “There are two potential avenues we need to explore.

“First, a possible amendment to the grounds of appeal, and secondly an application to admit fresh evidence.”

He added that the psychiatrist enlisted by the defence has already featured in the case.

Sir Declan indicated that other legal issues will be dealt with ahead of the appeal hearing