Wednesday 22 November 2017

Man to be sentenced later for raiding a shop after his drug dealer stole from him

Sonya McLean

A MEATH man who raided a Dublin boutique after his heroin dealer stole his money has been remanded in custody pending sentence.

Patrick Hand (32) of Mill Lane, Blackwater, Navan, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery of Honey and Ruby Boutique on Johnson Place in Dublin city centre on April 27, 2012.

The court heard that Hand’s 78 previous convictions stem from a chronic heroin addiction.

His defence counsel James Dwyer BL, said his client started using cannabis as a 14 year old after he moved from Navan to Blanchardstown and began associating with “negative peers”.

He then moved on to taking MDMA two years later but did not develop a heroin addiction until he was 23 years old and serving time in Mountjoy Prison.

Garda John Scully agreed with Mr Dwyer that Hand had just got the bus up to Dublin from Navan that day to buy heroin.

His dealer stole from him and he was left wandering around the streets, having taken other tablets, looking for a place to rob so he could buy heroin.

Gda Scully told Colm O’ Briain BL, prosecuting, that the lady working in the boutique that day saw Hand pass by the window twice and noticed he had a distinctive scar across his cheek.

He then came into the shop, held her hands together and told her; “I am holding you up. I have a syringe.”

Hand continued to threaten the woman, although she later told gardai he had no syringe with him, before he left the shop having taken €1,000 from the till and the back office.

He also tried to take the woman’s phone but after a brief struggle he threw it to the ground.

Gda Scully said at one point Hand was standing behind the woman as she was trying to get cash from a small office and she felt both “trapped and threatened”.

Hand smashed the CCTV cameras in the shop and warned the woman not to call the gardaí. He was later arrested after gardaí viewed CCTV footage from the general area.

A victim impact report stated that the woman was terrified by the ordeal and attended counselling sessions but she has since moved to England to study.

Gda Scully said Hand made “frank admissions” during his garda interview and explained that his dealer had stolen from him.

He said his memory of the incident was “not the best” but apologised to the victim for frightening her.

Hand’s previous convictions, included a seven year sentence imposed by Trim Circuit Criminal Court in January 2006 for attempted robbery.

Gda Scully agreed with Mr Dwyer that the majority of Hand’s convictions had been dealt with in the District Court and were for non-violent offences.

He accepted that his plea had been helpful and had spared the victim the trauma of having to give evidence at trial.

Mr Dwyer said his client had written a letter for the court in which he expressed a wish to change his life as “I am pushing on”. He also acknowledged in the letter that he had broken the law.

Counsel said Hand had “a chaotic relationship with drugs” for most of his life but he has been doing well since his remand in prison and is now drug free.

Judge Patricia Ryan adjourned the case to February next and ordered a probation report for that date.

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