Tuesday 24 April 2018

Man (21) jailed for two 'vicious' Smithfield robberies

One of the robberies took place on Mary's Lane in Dublin's Smithfield. Pic; Google Maps
One of the robberies took place on Mary's Lane in Dublin's Smithfield. Pic; Google Maps

Declan Brennan

A man has been jailed for two years for taking part in two “vicious” robberies.

Thomas Jackson (21) was one of three young men who attacked the robbery victims. The victims were kicked and punched and one man lost consciousness during an attack.

Jackson, a homeless man living in Focus Ireland managed accommodation, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two separate robberies committed on Mary's Lane and Cuckoo Lane in Dublin city centre, on May 1, 2017.

Judge Martin Nolan said the victims were attacked in a pretty vicious way and a considerable amount of violence was used.

He suspended the last two and a half years of a four-and-a-half year prison sentence on condition that Jackson keep the peace and engage with the Probation Services after his release.

Garda Paul Comerford told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, Vinicius Prado, a Brazilian man, was walking home when he met Jackson and two other men.

The men blocked his way and Mr Prado knew he was in trouble and began to run off, the court heard.

One of the attackers managed to grab the victim's backpack and pulled him to the ground. The men began kicking and punching the victim and shouted at him to hand over his phone. Mr Prado was in fear for his life and tried to protect his head and face from the blows, the court heard.

Later on the same night Mohammed Akbar was walking home when he passed Jackson and the two men. The men shoved him and asked Mr Akbar to hand over his phone. Mr Akbar ran down Cuckoo Lane but the attackers caught him by the hood of his jacket and pulled him back.

Another man began punching Mr Akbar, while the others tried to stop him from shielding his head with his arms by pulling his arms down.

The court heard that Mr Akbar was knocked out for a few seconds and when he came to he saw his assailants running off. The men had taken his phone and a wallet with the key to his flat in it.

He ran in their direction and approached them to ask them to give him back the key. One of the men walked over to him and punched in the side of the head and then all three got into a car and drove away.

Mr Akbar suffered a broken wrist which left him unable to take care of himself. The Indian national was living alone here and had to return to India to be cared for by his family. He has since returned to Dublin but feels more nervous walking around the city, the court heard.

The first victim was left with broken teeth which he has not being able to afford to repair. He also suffered bruising around his body.

Jackson has two previous convictions for public order and theft offences.

Marc Murphy BL, defending, said these attacks were out of character for Jackson and Gda Comerford agreed with that.

Mr Murphy said that a testimonial from Focus Ireland detailed a new stability in his client's life. He said Jackson had had a hard background and came into contact with social services from a very young age.

Judge Nolan said that Jackson's youth and the testimonial letter saved Jackson from getting a longer sentence. He said these were serious robberies with actual violence.

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