A FATHER-of-three who "viciously" robbed an American businessman on a Dublin city centre street has been jailed for 10 months.
Darren Dunne (31) punched the victim in the face as he passed him on a footpath and robbed him of his BlackBerry phone, which he had given to another man by the time gardai intervened. He had denied the offence, claiming a remark he made to the man had been taken personally and an argument ensued.
Dunne, of Homelawn Road, Tallaght, was convicted of robbing Eric Zeanah in the incident at Nicholas Street on February 27, 2010.
The court heard the accused was in Dublin on business and was typing into his BlackBerry on the street at 8.20pm when the defendant approached him, punched him and snatched his phone, before handing it to another man. Mr Zeanah said he told the accused he was a coward for attacking him and said he would go his own way if they returned the phone and "leave it at that".
In cross examination, he denied "squaring up to" or "bantering" with the accused. "I have no idea why he did what he did on the night," he said.
Garda Fiona Morrison said she was passing in an unmarked car when she saw the three men in an apparent altercation.
Dunne appeared agitated and was shouting at the injured party.
The gardai retrieved the phone from the second man and spoke to Mr Zeanah, who was shaken but calm when he told them what happened.
Mr Zeanah had a red mark on his face and Dunne, who was drunk, continued to shout abuse at him while the gardai were there. He said: "How could I have robbed him when I don't have a phone?"
The defendant said in evidence he had been drinking watching the Ireland- England rugby match and was "merry" after drinking up to 10 pints.
He was on his way to a chipper when he saw Mr Zeanah alone and texting.
He claimed he said: "Is she not talking to you?" and the victim took it personally.