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Man who robbed clothes shop while on temporary release from prison avoids jail for now

Dermot Molloy
Dermot Molloy

A man who robbed a clothes shop while on temporary release from prison has avoided prison for now after a judge heard he is the sole carer for a child with a birth defect.

Lawyers for Meath man Dermot Molloy (36) told Judge Martin Nolan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that Molloy's son was born with an “awful condition” which had symptoms opposite to those linked to the Zika virus.

The ongoing outbreak of that virus in Brazil has been linked to a huge increase in the cases of newborn microcephaly in the country which results in babies being born with smaller heads.

Luigi Rea BL, defending, told the court that in the case of his client's son, “instead of everything shrinking, everything is expanding” and that the child needed extraordinary medical care.

Counsel said Molloy was also caring for the child of his partner who had recently suffered the effects of a “significant act of self harm”. Garda Lee Gavin agreed that since 2013 Molloy had complied with his bail conditions and remained out of trouble.

Molloy's 57 previous convictions include impersonating a garda, handling stolen property, forgery, assault and 15 for robbery. Mr Rea said that his client was now drug free and was “out there behaving himself” and asked the court to give him one last chance.

Molloy formerly of Lagour Crescent, Dunshaughlin pleaded guilty to robbery on November 18, 2014 at Boutique Clothing Shop on Crown Alley, Temple Bar, Dublin.

The court heard that during the robbery Molloy threatened to stick a syringe into two victims but after his arrest he told gardaí he was only armed with a bookie's pen.

He also said he was robbing not to buy drugs but to buy food for his family.

Judge Nolan said he would have no difficulty sending Molloy to prison for “a long time” but said that his role as a carer to two children “gives me pause”. He adjourned the sentence to next July when he will revisit the matter and decide what to do.

He said Molloy's partner may have recovered by then and that the position of the younger child might have stabilised. He told Garda Lee Gavin that if there was any misbehaviour Molloy should be brought back immediately.

“It would take very little to put him back in prison,” Judge Nolan said.

Molloy was still serving the suspended portion of a sentence when he carried out the robbery. In April 2013 Judge Nolan sentenced him to six years with two suspended for the robbery and attempted robbery of three beauty salons and two shops in Dublin.

Molloy had wielded a large kitchen knife during two of the raids.