Alternative counts brought for man accused of robbery

A 48-year-old man who denied having anything to do with the robbery of a handbag from a 76-year-old woman shopping at a supermarket in Cork hoped that the withdrawal of the robbery charge would get as much media attention.

Philip Murphy, of 53 Orchard Court, Blackpool, was arrested by Detective Garda James Bugler and charged with carrying out the robbery in September. This charge was withdrawn.

Sergeant Gearóid Davis said Mr Murphy was charged with two alternative counts in respect of the same alleged incident — namely assaulting the 76-year-old and stealing her handbag.

Joseph Cuddigan, for Mr Murphy, said it was not being complained that anything was covered in the press that was not stated when Murphy was charged with robbery. However, Mr Cuddigan said Mr Murphy hoped the withdrawal of the robbery charge would get as much press attention.

Judge Olann Kelleher said he was not making any comment on media coverage which he said was a matter for bona fide members of the press.

Mr Murphy was remanded in custody for one week on the new charges.

Mr Murphy got into the witness box at Cork District Court during his bail bid on the now withdrawn robbery charge and said: “I took no handbag off an elderly woman in a shopping centre or assaulting any woman in a shopping centre.”

Murphy originally faced a charge that on Saturday, September 15, he robbed a woman of a black handbag and contents that included €400 cash. On that occasion, Mr Cuddigan said Mr Murphy was applying for bail and pleading not guilty to robbery.

Det Garda Bugler objected to bail being granted: “My concern is that he would commit further serious offences if granted bail. It is alleged that he was caught in the act. It is alleged he took a handbag from a 76-year-old female in Tesco. She challenged him, he pushed her aggressively. A store security guard came to her assistance and assisted in restraining the suspect who aggressively resisted arrest.”

Mr Cuddigan said in relation to that evidence, Mr Murphy was maintaining his innocence. Judge Kelleher refused bail and remanded Mr Murphy in custody on that occasion. He remanded him in continuing custody until December 10.

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