Wednesday 23 May 2018

Man who tried to rob Dublin post office in 'moment of madness' gets suspended sentence

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A man who tried to rob a post office “in a moment of madness” after earlier asking the staff for a bag has been given a two and half year suspended sentence.

Michael Kelly (55) was recognised by one of the staff as a regular customer. He came into the shop, asked for a bag, offered to pay for it and left the premises.

Garda Campbell Brennan told Eilis Brennan BL, prosecuting, that Kelly returned minutes later and held a note against the cashier window ordering them to fill the bag with money or “I will kill you”. He also instructed that the gardaí should not be alerted.

The staff member refused to fill the bag, saying “No” to Kelly twice before telling him she was about to press the panic alarm. Kelly left without taking anything. The woman later told gardaí that she was in “disbelief” because she recognised Kelly.

Gardaí arrived and Kelly was ultimately identified through CCTV footage. He was arrested about five months later.

Kelly, of no fixed abode pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to attempted robbery at Rush Post Office in Rush, Co Dublin, on September 24, 2016. His seven previous convictions are for minor offences and he has not come to garda attention since 2004.

Kelly said in garda interview that it was “a moment of madness”, telling officers he was drunk. He said he had been an alcoholic but had been sober for 10 years before the attempted raid. He had recently relapsed and his relationship with his partner was in trouble.

Gda Brennan agreed with Mark Lynam BL, defending, that Kelly was now sober and had been so for over a year.

Mr Lynam told Judge Martin Nolan that Kelly had been dealing with “alcohol issues” since he was eight years old. He said at the time of the offence Kelly's doctor had advised him that his level of drinking was now a threat to his life.

Counsel said Kelly had since engaged with the Simon Community and was now doing charitable work for them. He was remorseful and accepted it was a nasty and serious incident.

Judge Nolan said it was a “convincing threat” and a very frightening experience for the staff in the post office.

He accepted that Kelly had a long history of alcohol abuse but had since taken steps to rehabilitate.

He said in his view he “doesn't deserve an immediate custodial sentence” before he suspended a two and half year jail term.

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