Thursday 23 November 2017

Man who turned himself in after robbing shoe shop avoids jail

Judge's gavel.
Judge's gavel.

Declan Conlon

A MAN who turned himself in for robbing a shoe shop because he was disgusted with his own actions has avoided jail.

Ian Gibbons (39) of Emmet Road, Inchicore, Dublin pleaded guilty to one count of robbery at Shoezone, Ballyfermot Road on August 14, 2014.

Susan O’Brian was working in the shop that afternoon when Gibbons entered and approached her, Garda Andrew Turley told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

She said Gibbons told her to open the register or he would stab her. She opened it and he took €114 in cash and coins.

Gibbons, who had not yet been identified as a suspect, went to Ballyfermot Garda Station later that day but was unfit to be interviewed. He returned sober the next day and confessed, telling gardaí he felt terrible for his actions.

“The stress and the strain I put on that woman is horrific,” he said. Gibbons denied threatening to stab Ms O’Brien and said he had not been carrying a weapon.

He explained to gardaí that he was under pressure to get money after unwittingly stealing a bicycle from some violent people.

He claimed they forced him into a car, pointed handguns at him and told him to return the bike or pay them €1,500, said Pieter Le Vert BL, defending.

Gibbons has 20 previous convictions, mainly for drug and road traffic offences and dating from the 1990s. Mr Le Vert said Gibbons has recently come off methadone, is reducing his dosage of benzodiazepines under the supervision of a doctor, and is participating in a job program.

Judge Terence O’Sullivan imposed a two year suspended sentence. He noted Gibbons’ considerable remorse and said it was unusual for someone to make admissions on a voluntary basis.

He said the suspension of the sentence was dependent on Gibbons’ adhering to strict terms, including a paying a bond of €500 and engaging with the probation services for two years. He also ordered the payment of €200 that Gibbons brought to court to Ms O’Brien as compensation.

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