Alcoholic garda who tried to rob shop with fake gun avoids jail
Published 05/03/2011 | 05:00
A GARDA who attempted to rob a local convenience store was sentenced to a three-year suspended sentence yesterday.
Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard that Mario Boersma (39) of Rosebay Drive, Forest Hill, Carrigaline, Co Cork, had destroyed his career as a result of the incident at Kilmoney Stores, Carrigaline, on the afternoon of March 27, 2010.
Boersma was absent without leave from the force due to chronic alcoholism at the time of the attempted robbery and "was down to his last euro" the court was told.
He attempted to rob the store wearing a homemade balaclava fashioned from a woollen hat and using an imitation firearm.
Initially the female shop assistant thought the raid was a practical joke.
Boersma attempted to obtain money from the cash register but the assistant closed it and fled the shop.
He was arrested after the owner of the shop spotted him fleeing the scene and gave a description of him to gardai.
In an interview with TV3, Boersma said: "There was only one person in the store, I pulled out the imitation weapon. She just looked at me and just shoved the till shut.
"I said right, I'm not taking this any further, I'm not going to hurt anyone, I'm not going to intimidate anyone anymore and I just left the shop, well I ran."
Mr Boersma made a full confessionand pointed out where the missing imitation firearm could be recovered.
Defence Counsel Donal O'Sullivan said that Boersma is now separated from his wife and was "in the depths of despair" when he committed the crime.
"He had only €1.50 in his pocket. He had no earnings at the time. Once there was any confrontation he left immediately.
"He is somebody who has lost pretty much everything because of this. By his own admission he was drinking up to three bottles of wine a day."
Mr O'Sullivan added that as a former garda it would be "almost impossible" for Boersma to mix with the general prison population".
He also apologised to the shop worker on behalf of his client whom he said was genuinely remorseful for his actions.
Boersma said that he had always been proud to wear the garda uniform and that he felt he had let it down by his actions.
"I'm just sorry that I let the uniform down, today I just don't feel very good when I see it, a uniform, even a patrol car driving by.
"It could have been me. My grandfather was a guard for 35 years, it's the embarrassment to the family, especially my mother," he said.
In a written victim impact statement, the shop worker said she held no "ill feelings" toward Boersma adding that she "felt sorry" for the former garda.
The judge said there were mitigating and extenuating circumstances regarding the case.
He said that if Boersma were sent to jail he would "undoubtedly come across prisoners who had something against him".
He described the case as tragic adding that Boersma approached the robbery in an "amateurish fashion".
"This man was in effect little more than a child in his attitude to the attempted robbery," said the judge.
Mario Boersma was a garda for 15 years prior to his discharge in November of last year.