Monday 10 December 2018

Man with 32 previous convictions jailed for repeatedly targeting taxi drivers

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Fiona Ferguson

A robber who has repeatedly targeted taxi drivers in the past has been jailed for four-and-a-half years for two similar offences.

Thomas Joyce (37) has five previous convictions for robberies and three for attempted robberies committed against taxi drivers. He has a total of 32 previous convictions.

Joyce told one of the men: “If you don't give me money I will slash your face to bits.”

The court heard the crimes were related to drug use but that Joyce was now engaging in rehabilitation.

Joyce, of Dunsink Lane, Finglas, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery of two taxi drivers in Finglas on November 7 and 8, 2016.

Judge Gerard Griffin noted that the effect on the victims must have been terrifying.

Judge Griffin said that Joyce's probation report currently put him at “very high risk” of re-offending. He noted that Joyce had previously been in a residential treatment course beginning in March 2016 but had left it early in August 2016, before committing these offences in November.

He said that in mitigation he was taking into account Joyce's co-operation, guilty plea and remorse.

Judge Griffin imposed a five-and-a-half year sentence and suspended the final year.

Garda Brendan Hogan told Antonia Boyle BL, prosecuting, that on both dates Joyce flagged down the taxi drivers and directed them down a lane at Ratoath Road where the robberies took place.

Joyce threatened the first taxi driver that he would “cut him” and the following day told the second driver that he had “blades” and “would slash his face to bits”. He fled the scene after taking phones and sums of cash from each man.

He was nominated as a suspect in the first case after being identified on CCTV and in the second case he was identified after his fingerprints were found in the taxi.

Joyce was arrested the following day, November 9, 2016 at a halting site on Dunsink Lane.

Gda Hogan agreed with Dean Kelly BL, defending, that the offences were committed against a background of drug use and abuse.

Barry Murphy, of Exchange House Ireland National Travellers Service, said Joyce had been engaging in drug counselling and working on issues around addiction. He said he believed Joyce felt genuine remorse and that his young daughter was a real motivator for him in remaining sober.

Mr Kelly said it was a “mean and nasty offence” but that his client was energetically engaging in rehabilitation. A number of testimonials were handed into court on Joyce's behalf.

Mr Kelly told the court Joyce recognised his previous offending was related to his drug use and that he wanted to make changes in his life.

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