mask slip | 

Man who allegedly held scissors to woman’s stomach during shop robbery refused bail

Thomas Hillary was arrested on Friday by gardai after an incident at Circle-K newsagents in Dublin

The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

Tom Tuite

AN alleged masked raider accused of holding scissors to a Dublin shop worker’s stomach as she was “ushered” to open the till has been refused bail.

Thomas Hillary, 40, of Castlegrange Drive, Clondalkin, Dublin, was arrested on Friday by gardai after an incident at Circle-K newsagents on Nassau Street in the city centre.

He appeared before Judge Dermot Dempsey at Dublin District Court on Saturday charged with robbery and faced objections to bail.

Detective Garda Robert Mahony told the court the accused made no reply to the charge.

A contested bail hearing was told gardai Pearse Street station received a report of a panic alarm activation from the shop at 3 pm on Friday.

Detective Garda Mahony alleged CCTV evidence showed a lone male entered the store “and produced a scissors at a female staff member and held it against her stomach, and ushered her behind the till”.

However, she could not open it, so the robber stole cigarettes and fled. However, the scissors were left behind, retained as evidence and will be the subject of technical analysis.

The worker was uninjured.

The court heard Gardai would send a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) recommending more serious charges.

Judge Dempsey heard the video evidence, from seven cameras, was hi-definition.

The detective said the robber was masked, “but at various points, the mask slips and shows his face”.

The accused was arrested three hours later at nearby Dawson Street.

Defence counsel Kevin McCrave questioned the officer about his client’s interview and responses to the evidence.

The barrister said Mr Hillary believed the person in the footage “did not resemble him at all”.

The detective said the accused made no comment throughout his questioning. The court was told that other gardai had interacted with him four hours before the incident.

It was accepted that there was no evidence of flight risk or that the unemployed accused had travelled abroad.

Counsel argued that high-definition footage did not always mean a person’s face could be seen. Pleading for bail, he submitted the accused was a father and had furnished an address where he lived with his partner.

Mr McCrave said his client denies the allegation and could face a lengthy period in custody awaiting trial because the case could go forward to the Circuit Court. Counsel submitted that the man would abide by the conditions.

However, Judge Dempsey denied bail and remanded Mr Hillary in custody pending directions from the DPP. Legal aid was granted.

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