'Prolific' Dublin burglar and cousin chased by armed gardai following robbery

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A "prolific burglar" and his cousin, who were chased by armed gardai following a burglary in Co Louth, have avoided increased prison sentences despite an "undue leniency" appeal by prosecutors.

Edward Wall (44), with an address at Fortunestown Crescent, Tallaght, Dublin 24 and Patrick Wall (36), of Bawnleigh Avenue, in Tallaght, had pleaded guilty to burglary at a house in Drogheda, Co Louth and the attempted burglary of a house in Gainstown, Co Meath on October 31, 2014.

They were both sentenced at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four years imprisonment with the final year suspended by Judge Leonie Reynolds on February 5, 2016.

Patrick Wall had four previous convictions for burglary including one for aggravated burglary. Two were dealt with by suspended sentences, one with a six-month sentence and the aggravated burglary a community service order.

Edward Wall, described as a "prolific burglar" by the prosecuting garda, had a "large number" of previous convictions including eight for burglary. He had received various sentences ranging from suspended sentences to a three-year term.

The Director of Public Prosecutions applied for a review of the Walls' sentences today on grounds that they were "unduly lenient". However, the Court of Appeal did not find a "clear divergence" from the norm.

Giving judgment, Mr Justice John Edwards, said a joint operation by the Emergency Response Unit and the National Surveillance Unit decided to monitor the movements of a particular car on the basis of intelligence.

The car had been observed parked at the Red Cow Inn, in Dublin, but later that day its number plates were noticed to have changed.

The car was intercepted in Balbriggan. It failed to stop, a chase ensued and it collided with a garda vehicle. The driver, Edward Wall, abandoned the still moving vehicle before colliding with the gates of a house.

With firearms drawn, the gardai immediately apprehended Patrick Wall in the backseat who was found to be wearing a balaclava and carrying a pry bar.

In the car was found a number of house breaking items including pliers, screw drivers and an axe-like log splitter, the judge said.

In the house which had been burgled, a number of items of jewellery was taken. A wall had been dug out in an attempt to access a safe. The safe itself was also severely damaged.

Later that day, Mr Justice Edwards said the Walls had decided to attempt to break into a house at an area known as Wood Grange. The occupants were at home.

The female occupant observed three figures in the driveway and she heard a loud bang similar to a shotgun. She thought her husband had been shot and she screamed. The men then left the scene.

Mr Justice Edwards said the Walls were of traveller ethnicity.

The sentencing court was told that both were on bail in respect of other matters at the time.

In seeking a review, counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, James Dwyer BL, submitted that the sentencing judge gave insufficient weight to the aggravating factors, had inadequate regard to the careful planning and sophistication of the burglary and had inadequate regard to their previos convictions for similar offences.

Mr Justice Edwards, who sat with Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice Alan Mahon, said the sentences had not been demonstrated to be unduly lenient. There must be a "clear divergence" from the norm caused by an error in principle, the judge said.

Ruaidhrí Giblin