Monday 19 March 2018

I made guilty plea because of garda promise, court told

Alan Freeman: challenging activation of suspended term. Picture Collins
Alan Freeman: challenging activation of suspended term. Picture Collins

Tim Healy

A man is asking the High Court to stop moves to activate an eight-year suspended jail sentence he got for a bank robbery after he was charged over another robbery.

In February 2008, Alan Freeman (33) walked free from court following a plea of guilty for the armed robbery of a bank in Rathdowney, Co Laois, in 2004, along with an offer to repay the €10,000 taken in the raid. Judge Desmond Hogan suspended the eight-year term for six years.

The following January, 2009, four masked and armed men attacked the home of a firearms dealer near Carrick-on-Suir and took 42 firearms after subjecting the family to a four-hour ordeal.

Subsequently, Mr Freeman and another man were charged in connection with that raid and Freeman's trial, on charges of aggravated burglary and robbery, began in Kilkenny on February 5 last.

He pleaded not guilty and the trial continued into a third week when he changed his plea to guilty on a lesser charge of theft.

Yesterday, the High Court heard he was claiming he only changed his plea following a promise from Waterford-based Detective Superintendent Dominic Hayes that the suspended sentence for the bank robbery would not be activated.

However, he was remanded in custody and is due back before Judge Hogan in two weeks when an application will be made to activate the suspended prison term.

Det Supt Hayes has strongly denied offering any inducement to Freeman. High Court president Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns said he would give his decision on the matter next week.

Irish Independent

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