Five years for man who took part in savage and severe robbery

Five years for man who took part in savage and severe robbery

A man who took part in a savage and severe robbery which left the victim with a broken leg has been jailed for five years.

Three men set on Francis Crossan, knocked him to the ground and punched and kicked him. Giovanni Obaseki (23) told gardai he held the man down during the unprovoked assault.

Obaseki, with an address at Chelmsford Road, Ranelagh, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery of Mr Crossan at North King Street, Dublin on September 8, 2012.

The then 19-year-old is a German national whose Nigerian born father had sent him to relatives in Ireland to improve his English. The court heard that he reacted against a much more restrictive regime of curfew and intolerance of alcohol at his uncle's home.

Aoife O'Leary BL, defending, said there was a culture clash. His uncle asked him to leave the home because he was drinking and he ended up effectively homeless and hanging out with an anti-social group.

The attack on Mr Crossan came weeks after two earlier attacks by Obaseki and his accomplices. During an attempted robbery of a 60-year-old man at Brunswick Street on August 8 the victim was hit with a wine bottle and required staples.

On June 19 at Smithfield Square, Dublin Obaseki punched a man before snatching his mobile phone and running away. Obaseki pleaded guilty to both these offences.

Judge Martin Nolan said the crimes were all very serious but that the robbery of Mr Crossan was the most serious and was “a savage and severe” attack.

He said it must have been traumatic for the victim to see the bone protruding from his leg. The victim was also left with bruises to his face and body and suffered a fracture to his arm bone.

He told gardai that he felt he was hit at least 20 times and was punched in the head and body before he was knocked to the ground by a punch.

Judge Nolan said the accused had demonstrated a propensity for violence and he must impose a severe sentence.

Noting the steps that Obaseki has taken to reform himself Judge Nolan suspended the last two years of a sentence of seven years.

Garda Stephen Tierney told Martina Baxter BL, prosecuting, that Mr Crossan was standing outside a takeaway using his mobile phone when three men walked up to him. Obaseki came up into his face and asked him for a cigarette but he said he didn't have one.

Another man then punched the victim in the side of his face. He said he was punched about twenty times after this before one punch knocked him to the ground.

“They kept punching and kicking me while on the ground. I thought they would kill me,” he said, adding that the unprovoked attack devastated him.

The court heard that he spent 14 months on crutches and it was still too painful for him to run and he may have arthritis in his ankle in the future.

Judge Nolan said that the sentence would be longer but for the man's age and the steps he had taken to reform.

“What he did was severe and savage. Mr Crossan will have to live with what he (Obaseki) did,” said Judge Nolan.

Ms O'Leary said that her client had instructed her to apologise to Mr Crossan and the other victims. She presented the court with hand written letters of apology from him to each victim.

She said he was abusing drugs and drinking heavily at the time of these crimes. He had spent time in custody since December last for these offences and during that time he had completed the first three parts of the Prison Service's Alternatives to Violence Programme.

Counsel said he was nearly at the stage where he may qualify to be a facilitator in this programme. She said he had rehabilitated himself.