Judge Martin Nolan was commenting on the case of Paul Cahill (39), who pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two robberies in Dublin city centre.
Cahill, of Brian Road, Marino, Dublin admitted robbing Jordon Casey on George’s Street South on September 11, 2018. He also pleaded guilty to robbing cash from Subway deli on Aungier Street on February 21, 2019.
At a sentence hearing on Thursday, the court heard from Mr Paul Cahill Senior, who said that his family “went through hell” for twenty years due to his son’s drug and alcohol addictions.
He recounted that at one time, himself and his wife walked past their son “when he was homeless asleep in the snow on the street”.
Mr Cahill Sn told the court that his son has undergone rehabilitation and has proven to all his family that he is a changed man.
Judge Nolan said that he found the testimony of the accused father “compelling” and as a result, had decided “with great reluctance", not to jail Cahill.
“I have made an exception to my usual ruling. It seems to me there is a serious chance of complete rehabilitation,” said Judge Nolan, who suspended the sentence in full under the condition that Cahill keeps the peace and be of good behaviour for five years.
Judge Nolan said Cahill was getting a “considerable chance,” but warned him that if he offended within the next five years, he would go to jail for five years.
Detective Garda Brian Cleary of Pearse Street Garda Station told Fíona Crawford, BL, prosecuting, that on 11 September 2018, Mr Jordon Casey had been on a night out in Dublin. He returned to his home but at approximately 5 am, he got a taxi into Dublin City Centre to buy cigarettes.
The court heard that Mr Casey was withdrawing money using an ATM at Dunnes Stores on Georges Street when he was grabbed by the neck from behind and dragged to the ground in a chokehold action. While he was on the ground, he was struck many times.
Det Gda Cleary told the court that Cahill kept asking Mr Casey for his PIN. A second man was also present at the robbery, whom the victim believed was holding a knife or a syringe. This man rifled through Mr Casey’s pockets before both men left the area.
Gardaí were alerted, and a sweep of the area was undertaken, but no one matching the men’s description was found. However, CCTV footage from the ATM was used to identify Cahill.
Aoife O’Leary, BL, defending, said her client was highly intoxicated on the night and fully accepts his actions. She said he accepts that the person was in fear and he is disgusted with himself for what he did.
Garda Maeve Hamilton told the court that on 21 February 2019, gardaí were alerted to an incident which had taken place in Subway on Aungier Street in Dublin.
The court heard that a man entered the shop and took a bottle of water to the till. While he was paying for this, he shouted to the employee, “Open the fucking till give me fucking money.” The man, who was later identified as Cahill, held a box cutter in his hand.
Cahill climbed over the counter and took €238 from the till. Gardaí viewed CCTV footage and identified Cahill. After his arrest Cahill said he was homeless and begging and said that he had just snapped.
Cahill told the Gardaí that he was holding a piece of plastic and not a box cutter during the robbery. He has 79 previous convictions.
Patrick McCarthy, BL, defending, said his client was cooperative during interview and was ashamed and remorseful for his action.
Judge Nolan sentenced Cahill to five years in prison for the robbery of Jordon Cleary and two and a half years in prison for the robbery on Aungier Street. Both sentences are to run concurrently.