Thursday 22 March 2018

Man who stole USB keys from garda station while being quizzed about earlier robbery released on bail for drug treatment

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Fiona Ferguson

A man who stole two USB keys from a garda station - while being interviewed about a robbery he had committed that day - has been released on bail to attend drug treatment.

Dubliner Jason Kennedy (45) was captured on footage putting the USB keys in his pocket when the garda questioning him stepped out of the interview room to speak to a colleague.

Kennedy, of Butlers Place, Benson Street, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery at Park Pharmacy, Cabinteely and stealing two USB keys at Shankill Garda station on August 18, 2016.

The court heard Kennedy, who has 43 previous convictions, had been clean of drugs for a number of years but had suffered a “slip” at the time of these offences.

Judge Karen O'Connor said the robbery had been an aggressive and threatening offence but noted his progress in relation to his addiction and said she was going to give him a chance to complete a residential treatment programme.

She ordered that Kennedy be accompanied by a staff member to the unit at Coolmine where he is to complete the residential treatment programme as well as the step down and after-care program.

She ordered the gardaí be notified of any breach of the conditions of bail.

Judge O'Connor adjourned finalisation of sentencing until January for a progress report.

Garda Desmond Molloy told Antonia Boyle BL, prosecuting, that at about midday, Kennedy, armed with a hammer, had threatened staff at the pharmacy before making off with €500 in cash and a large quantity of prescription drugs. Staff activated a panic alarm.

He was seen leaving the scene in an Audi with a large dent in the door. The car, which was registered in his name, was spotted two hours later in Rathfarnham and Kennedy was arrested.

Gardai recovered a large amount of medication in the car and found the clothes worn in the robbery as well as the hammer. No cash was recovered.

Gda Molloy said Kennedy was taken to Shankill garda station for questioning. The garda said after the interviews he discovered two USB keys were no longer in the interview room.

Video footage was reviewed and revealed that when the garda stepped out of the room to speak to the member in charge at the station, Kennedy had taken the items and put them in his pocket.

Kennedy returned the USB keys and told gardaí, “it was only a joke.”

Olan Callanan BL, defending, that his client had began using heroin as a 18-year-old and in his late twenties went on a methadone maintenance program. Twelve years later in 2010, he had detoxed himself “cold turkey” at his house.

Counsel said that since going into custody following the offences Kennedy had again made concerted and consistent efforts to get help in relation to addressing his addiction.

Mr Callanan said Kennedy had been assessed as suitable for a place in Coolmine Residential Treatment Centre and asked the court to allow him the opportunity to attend.

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