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More jail time for rapist with 103 convictions caught with coins from robbery

John Gavin
John Gavin

A convicted rapist has had his prison time extended by one year after being caught in possession of coins taken in a cash in transit robbery and threatening gardaí while on bail awaiting his rape trial.

John Gavin (29) acted aggressively towards gardaí who came to his caravan looking to caution another man. He denied the man, who was later spotted at the scene, was present.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard he screamed at others present: “Smash the pigs and smash their car to pieces.”

He also brought a “large husky type dog” in close proximity to the gardaí and threatened to release it.

Garda Karen Caswell told the court gardaí feared for their safety during the incident.

Gardai later searched his caravan and recovered two bags of coins which had been taken earlier that day during the robbery of a cash in transit van.

A garda was injured while arresting Gavin.

Gavin of Moyne Park Halting Site, Moyne Park Road, Baldoyle, Co Dublin pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property.

He also pleaded guilty to making threats to Gda Caswell and Sergeant Noel Smith and to assaulting Sgt Smith causing him harm at the halting site on November 9, 2016.

Gavin, who has 103 previous convictions, was convicted earlier this year by a Central Criminal Court jury of the rape of a woman in a Dublin city centre hotel in 2012.

He received a six year sentence for that offence last March. He had been due for release in 2021.

Judge Martin Nolan said Gavin had been surprised by the gardaí and reacted with aggression and hostility as he was in “compromising position” having the coins.

He said “gardaí place themselves in positions of danger all the time” and they could do without people attacking them and encouraging others to attack them.

Judge Nolan noted that Gavin had some mental difficulties and “has not been blessed with much intellectual ability” but said he was satisfied Gavin knew what he was doing was wrong.

He noted that Gavin was on bail and any sentence must be consecutive to his current term. He imposed a one year sentence consecutive to the rape sentence.

Judge Nolan said it would have been substantially more but for the fact Gavin was already facing a long prison term.

Pieter Le Vert BL, defending, said his client had instructed him to apologise and accepted he was entirely in the wrong.

He said Gavin begun abusing drugs from 13 years old and had mental health issues including a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

He said Gavin was a married man with three children. One of his children suffers health difficulties and his wife has been suffering from depression and panic attacks. He said Gavin has attended counselling and was hoping to go back to school while in custody.

Garda Karen Caswell told Diarmuid Collins BL, prosecuting, that a G4S cash in transit van had been the subject of a robbery on November 9, 2016 and two bags of coins had been taken.

About one hour later Gda Caswell and Sgt Smith attended at Gavin's caravan because they believed that a man they wished to caution in relation to a high court bail matter may be in his company.

Gavin burst out of the caravan in an agitated state screaming at the gardaí and asking what they wanted. They told him who they were looking for and Gavin replied he was not there.

The gardaí noticed a car linked to the man they were looking for but Gavin continued to deny the man was there. He went back into the caravan, closed the door and windows, and pulled the blinds.

Gardai could hear two people talking inside, cupboards opening and closing, and metal objects being moved and dragged. Gavin looked out of the caravan sky light at them at one point.

Gda Caswell said a number of males arrived at the scene and Gavin screamed at them: “Smash the pigs and smash their car to pieces.” Sgt Smith told the men to stay back but Gavin continued to shout at them to attack the gardaí.

Gavin brought a “large husky type dog” over towards the gardaí and, while holding it on a lead, instructed it to attack them. Gda Caswell said they feared for their safety. As the gardaí backed away, they noted the man they were looking for leaving the caravan with his head down.

Sgt Smith, who believed the man may be in possession of or trying to dispose of drugs, called to the man to stay put. The man came over to gardaí and consented to be searched.

Gavin continued to make threats and refused to consent to a search. He swung a punch at Sgt Smith who injured his hand while attempting to restrain him. Further gardaí arrived and Gavin was arrested.

He continued to be aggressive en route to the garda station where he denied knowledge of the coins.

Gardai, who were aware of the earlier cash in transit robbery and had became suspicious after hearing the noise of items being moved, later searched the caravan and found coins to the value of €1,454 wrapped in a towel and brown paper bag.

Gda Caswell agreed with Mr Le Vert that Gavin was acting irrationally when gardaí arrived and began to interact with him. She agreed gardaí were quite taken aback at his aggression.

She agreed the dog had not been let off the chain but said it had been brought in close proximity to them and Gavin threatened to set it on them.