Dublin man who punched taxi driver and stole his vehicle sent back to prison following unsuccessful appeal

Dublin man who punched taxi driver and stole his vehicle sent back to prison following unsuccessful appeal

A Dublin man who punched a taxi driver and stole his vehicle in the early hours of a Sunday morning has been sent back to prison following an unsuccessful appeal against conviction.

Aaron McCarthy (22) of Crinan Strand, Dublin 1 had pleaded not  guilty to robbery and taking a vehicle without authority at Lisburn Street in the capital on August 13 2011. He admitted to stealing a bicycle on the same occasion.

He was found guilty by a jury at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court and subsequently sentenced to five years imprisonment.

McCarthy, who had been on bail for the application, had his appeal against conviction dismissed  by three judges of the Court of Appeal and he was consequently returned to prison.

Mr Justice Alan Mahon said McCarthy had hailed a taxi to take him to Spencer Dock in Dublin. En route two additional passengers joined him and the driver, a Mr Balbir Singh, was punched in the face, had his taxi, mobile phone and bank cards stolen.

A short time later, McCarthy and another man were arrested on foot by gardaí, Mr Justice Mahon said.

He had appealed his conviction on two grounds: the manner in which the trial judge dealt with a garda's evidence in his charge to the jury and reference to the possibility that McCarthy may have lied during garda interviews about his reason for being out after 2am.

Mr Justice Mahon said it would have been preferable if the trial judge had not referred to the potential risk to a garda's career if McCarthy had been acquitted.

However the trial judge adequately dealt with the comment in his redirection to the jury having been requested to do so. He referred to the earlier reference in order to place it in it's proper context and it was “difficult to see what more he could have been said”.

On the second ground, Mr Justice Mahon said the court was satisfied that the judge's comments were not inappropriate or detrimental to McCarthy.

Mr Justice Mahon, who sat with Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan, said the appeal was “therefor dismissed”.

Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Lorcan Staines BL, said McCarthy's bail had come to an end, he was no longer on bail pursuant to an order made at an earlier date and was back in custody.

McCarthy was returned to prison where he will serve out the remainder of his sentence. He is yet to appeal against the severity of his sentence.

Ruaidhrí Giblin