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Ringleader in attack in which student told to withdraw money or his girlfriend would be raped wins appeal


Judge's gavel

Judge's gavel

Judge's gavel

THE ringleader behind an “appalling” attack in which a student was “frog marched” to an ATM machine and told to withdraw money or his girlfriend would be raped by two accomplices, has won an appeal against sentence.

The 20-year-old, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, robbery and false imprisonment at Botanic Avenue, Dublin 9 on April 27 2011.

He was sentenced to six years detention by Judge Martin Nolan on March 29 2012.

The Court of Appeal heard today that the victims were a young woman and her civil-engineering-student boyfriend who had broken up as a result of the incident.

Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Anne Rowland BL, said the young offender was “the ringleader” from the time he entered the house with his accomplices.

He held a knife to the student's throat and commented that he would 'give him a quick' cut while moving it across his face.

After he had gotten €40 from the victims, he told them 'you better get more than that or I'll slice you' and referring to the student's girlfriend, he said 'I'll hurt her if you don't give me the PIN number' to an ATM card.

The boyfriend was then “frog marched” from his girlfriend's home to a nearby ATM machine while his girlfriend was held back at the house by two accomplices. The victim was told that if he didn't comply his girlfriend would be raped, Ms Rowland said.

Eventually, at 11:15pm €600 was withdrawn from the ATM and there were suggestions that they would wait until midnight to get another withdrawal.

Ms Rowland said the motivation behind the offence was money.

His barrister, John Aylmer SC, submitted that the sentencing judge erred in failing to have adequate regard to the provisions of the Children's Act and that a period of detention should only have been imposed as a last resort.

Mr Aylmer said his client was 15 at the time of sentencing albeit one month away from his sixteenth birthday.

He had become “highly criminalised” at a young age, had lost his father aged 11 from addiction problems, his mother was a chronic alcoholic and he had gone into the care of the HSE.

The court heard that he is now in Wheatfield Prison, having served time in St Patrick's Institution and that his sentence is due to finish within a little more than a year.

Speaking on behalf of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan said the crimes committed by the man were “extremely serious” and had an “appalling effect” on the victims.

Having considered the submissions, Mr Justice Sheehan said the court was not satisfied that the judge gave sufficient attention to the issue of rehabilitation in light of the Children's Act.

Mr Justice Sheehan, who sat with Mr Justice John Edwards and Mr Justice Alan Mahon, said the court would set out the reasons for its decision at a later date.

He said the court required a prison governor's report, an updated probation report and details on a drug treatment programme run by Fr Peter McVerry before moving to impose a new sentence.

Online Editors