Tuesday 19 November 2019

Judge wishes robber a happy birthday before jailing him for three years

Sonya McLean

A JUDGE wished a father of two a happy 40th birthday before she jailed him for the robbery of his local convenience store last year. Darren Cleary, who turned 40 today, robbed the shop with another man who was armed with a screwdriver.

Both men had their heads covered with hoods and scarves before they ordered the shop worker to “move”, jumped the counter and took the drawers from two cash registers.

Cleary of Alexander Place, East Wall, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery of €925 from the XL Store, in East Wall on January 30, 2012.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring said it was a very “sad state of affairs that on a day of significance in his life” Cleary would be sent to prison. She added that his life had been “littered” with criminal convictions and drug addiction.

“I am sure it is not the celebrations you envisaged for such a birthday,” the judge said. She went on to say that by the age of 40 a person should have become “the author of their own destiny”.

Judge Ring sentenced Cleary to three years in prison, consecutive to a term he is currently serving for an earlier robbery.

She suspended the final two years on condition that he liaise with the Probation Service upon his release for assistance in dealing with his drug addiction.

“For what it is worth, ‘Happy Birthday’,” the judge said after Cleary entered his bond and left the court room in the company of the prison officers.

Garda John Saunderson told Cathleen Noctor BL, prosecuting, that the manager of the shop gave details of the raider’s getaway car to gardaí. The vehicle was found later that day abandoned in a nearby apartment complex.

CCTV footage from the shop, the apartment complex and the apartment complex which Cleary lived in, together with a description from the shop worker, led to his identification.

He was arrested two days later but made no admissions in interview.

Gda Saunderson said Cleary had 27 previous convictions including robbery, theft, attempted robbery and attempted theft. He was on bail for a robbery when he carried out this raid. He later received a four year sentence with the final year suspended for that offence.

Luigi Rea BL, defending, said Cleary has since started to deal with his drug addiction and Gda Saunderson agreed that he “certainly looks healthier today”.

Counsel said his client has two children with his long term partner and she is happy to “wait for him” as long as he remains drug free.

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