Tuesday 20 February 2018

Raider sentence increase

A man involved in a post office robbery has had his jail term more than doubled following an appeal by prosecutors that his original prison sentence was "unduly lenient".

Daniel Kavanagh (26), of Owensilla, Ballymun, Dublin 9, had pleaded guilty at Dundalk Circuit Criminal Court to possession of a double barrelled sawn-off shotgun and robbery of the Mace Store at Clogherhead, Co Louth on April 20, 2015.

He was sentenced to four years imprisonment with the final two suspended on July 21, 2016.

The Director of Public Prosecutions successfully sought a review of Kavanagh's sentence on grounds that it was "unduly lenient". The Court of Appeal accordingly imposed five years jail terms on each of the two counts to run concurrently.

Giving judgment, Mr Justice Alan Mahon said two individuals wearing hoods entered the store, which included a sub post office, at about 12.30pm on the day in question. One of them carried a sawn off shotgun while the other, Kavanagh, carried a plastic bag.

There were three staff members present.

One of the men demanded cash from the staff member in charge of the post office section of the premises. The individual carrying the shotgun used it to strike the glass panel at the post office unit causing it to shatter.

The shotgun was also pointed directly at a staff member, Miss Rafferty, and a sum of €2,250 in cash was handed over.

On leaving the premises, the raiders were challenged by Det Garda Carey, who had been sitting outside in an unmarked garda car. He produced his official firearm, in response to which the raider carrying the shotgun pointed it directly at him.

The man then dropped the shotgun and he, Kavanagh, along with the driver of the raider's vehicle, escaped.

Kavanagh ran towards the back of the premises where he was later apprehended.

The raider's car was driven at Det Gda Carey who was forced to jump out of its way. He was struck on the hip and ankle but was not injured. The cash was recovered at the scene.

Kavanagh had 15 previous convictions including two for possession of firearms and ammunition in July 2015 - committed three months after this offence.

Mr Justice Mahon said the Court of Appeal viewed Kavanagh's sentence as unduly lenient, and outside the wide range of discretion enjoyed by a sentencing judge, because of the particularly serious nature of the offences and the circumstances in which it was committed.

Kavanagh had been sentenced on the first count - possession of firearms - with the second count taken into account on a full facts basis.

Even if he had been sentenced on both counts, "which ought to have been done," Mr Justice Mahon said, the sentence imposed on the first count "would remain unduly lenient".

Mr Justice Mahon, who sat with Mr Justice John Edwards and Mr Justice John Hedigan, said the Court of Appeal would impose a seven year sentence in respect of the first count with the final two years suspended.

Mr Justice Mahon said the sentencing judge ought to have imposed a separate and distinct sentence in respect of the robbery count.

While it was accepted that there existed some element of fear on the part of Kavanagh, which contributed to his participation in the robbery, it was an incident in which he freely participated.

He knew a shotgun was to be produced for the purposes of "terrorising staff and customers", and this along with his own aggressive behaviour served to emphasis the seriousness of the offence.

The court imposed a second sentence of seven years imprisonment with the final two years suspended. Both sentences were to run concurrently.

Drogheda Independent

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