A man was on bail for armed robbery when he committed six more armed robberies in a one month period, a court has heard.
Jason Flaherty (20) used either a knife or an imitation gun to frighten shop staff during the hold ups.
Flaherty of Whitestown Crescent, Mulhuddart, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three counts of robbery of cash from shops in west Dublin on dates between August 21 and September 19, 2013.
At the time he was on bail on charges of robbery and possession of a firearm in April 2013. Judge Mary Ellen Ring later sentenced him to four years with 18 months suspended for that offence.
Today Judge Ring imposed another sentence of four years but suspended the final two years to give Flaherty hope for the future. The suspension is on condition that he engages with drug treatment and education and training programmes run by the Probation Services.
Detective Garda Rebecca Doolan gave evidence that the first robbery was carried out on August 21, 2013 at a Spar in Littlepace, Clonee, Dublin when Flaherty threatened shop staff with a knife.
He robbed the same shop on September 9 and five days later he robbed a Spar in Coolmine, Dublin.
On September 15 he robbed an Applegreen Petrol Station on the Clonsilla Road six minutes after he had carried out an armed robbery of a Spar Shop on the other side of the road.
He and another man wore black masks with holes for their eyes and shouted at staff to give them all the notes and to leave the coins. During these two robberies Flaherty was holding an imitation gun.
He later told gardaí that he was only using the knife or the gun to frighten staff and said he never intended to use either of them to injure anybody.
He said he was committing the robberies because he had a drug debt and was in fear for his own safety.
Victim impact reports from some of the staff who were victims of the robbery described how they now felt increasingly anxious about working in the shops. One woman said she felt the need to move out of her home and in with her brother because of her increased fears after the ordeal.
Flaherty’s seven previous convictions include five for road traffic offences.
The latest jail term will run consecutively to the current sentence being served by Flaherty. A number of other charges of robbery were taken into consideration on sentencing.