Monday 16 September 2019

Man attempted to rob two post offices after becoming homeless, court told

The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin
The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

Aoife Nic Ardghail

A Croatian man attempted to rob two post offices after he found himself homeless from getting his work hours cut, a court has heard.

Garda Patrick Dunne said former cafe worker Mario Hanzic Broz (44) had been unable to pay his rent after his job hours had been reduced.

The garda told Diana Stuart BL, prosecuting, that Broz went into two post offices with a 6mm caliber air pistol but turned around and left without any money. He agreed with Oisín Clarke BL, defending, that Broz had had second thoughts during the brief incidents and was extremely remorseful when arrested.

Gda Dunne told Mr Clarke that Broz's car had been taken from him for having no insurance, which meant he couldn't get to work on time and his cafe hours were reduced.

Broz, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to attempted robbery and possession of an air pistol with intent at Botanic Road Post Office, Dublin 9, on May 8, 2018.

He also pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and possession of an air pistol at Berkeley Road Post Office, Phibsborough, Dublin 7, on May 10, 2018. He has no previous convictions in this jurisdiction.

Gda Dunne told Ms Stuart that the elderly postmaster in the first attempted robbery had been carrying out general duties when he saw a male in front of him shouting “money, money money”.

The postmaster knew about firearms from being victim to previous robberies, but wasn't certain if Broz's gun was real. He told Broz he was going to a back area to get money.

While he was there he looked at the CCTV but couldn't see Broz. He returned to the post office public area, saw that Broz was gone and rang gardaí.

Two days later Broz approached a woman working at the cash desk at Berkeley Road Post Office and took the gun out of a white plastic bag. He told the woman to give him all the money, but then turned around after a few seconds and left the post office.

The woman hit the panic button and gardaí arrived a short time later. Gda Dunne said Broz was arrested at Blessington Street Basin in Dublin about an hour after this second incident. He agreed with Mr Clarke that Broz had retrieved the gun from a bin and handed it to gardaí at the scene, revealing he'd bought it at a toy shop.

Gda Dunne said Broz mentioned he suffered from PTSD due to his service in the army during the Balkans War. He said he tracked down Broz's former cafe boss, who had described him as a “very good worker” and was surprised about the offending.

Mr Clarke submitted to Judge Melanie Greally that his client had joined the army when he was 18 years old and had witnessed “varying levels of atrocities” during the Balkans War.

Counsel said his client numbed himself against the incidents he had witnessed by using LSD, cocaine, heroin and cannabis. He said this was common place among soldiers and that Broz left the army with a heroin addiction.

Mr Clarke submitted that though Broz had held down jobs in Croatia, he got into trouble because of his heroin addition. He said Broz got clean of drugs before coming to Ireland 18 months ago to join friends here and “make a clean sweep” of his life.

Mr Clarke said the attempted robberies were “two desperate situations” that his client regrets.

Judge Greally remanded Broz in continuing custody pending a probation report and prison governor's report. She also asked for clarification on Broz's previous convictions in Croatia. She adjourned the sentence to March of next year.

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