A raider who pointed a BB gun at the head of a taxi driver and demanded money has been jailed for three years.
Paul Evans, 36, later claimed to gardaí it was a practical joke and the driver had overreacted.
During the attempted robbery taxi driver Frank Rowan managed to overpower Evans and take the firearm.
Evans repeatedly ran at Mr Rowan and demanded the gun back until the driver struck him on the head with the gun.
Evans continued to run at the victim and a passer-by stopped and called gardaí.
Evans told the victim he would wait for the gardaí and would “do him for assault” when they arrived.
He later told gardaí that the driver “couldn't take a joke” and that he had only pretended to rob him.
A black ski mask was found on him and gardaí arrested Evans.
Evans of Moatview Court, Priorswood, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to attempted robbery at Marigold Ave., Darndale, Dublin on November 13, 2016.
He also admitted unlawful possession of a realistic imitation firearm.
He told gardaí that the 6mm air pistol belonged to his son and they used it to shoot cans in their family garden.
The court heard that after getting into the taxi Evans put the gun an inch from the driver's head and told him “give me your money or I'll fucking shoot you”.
Evans repeated this threat and the driver saw Evans pull the slide on the gun and heard the gun click.
Mr Rowan didn't know if the gun was real or not and he was afraid that he would be shot, Garda Elaine Galley said.
The victim grabbed Evans' hand and managed to overpower him.
Evans kept his finger on the trigger but the victim felt he was stronger and during a scuffle both men fell out of the taxi.
Mr Rowan then grabbed the gun and struck Evans, causing a small injury to his forehead.
The court heard Evans has no previous convictions for violent offending and Pieter Le Vert BL, defending, said the attempted robbery was entirely out of character.
He said Evans was doing very well in custody. He is drug-free and working in the prison laundry.
Judge Melanie Greally said she accepted Evans was heavily intoxicated at the time and that the offence was out of character.
She noted he was a hard worker, a good family man and could be a productive member of society when he was not drinking.
Judge Greally said the offence was too serious to be dealt with by way of suspended sentence.
“It's an issue for taxi drivers, they are being exposed to extremely menacing behaviour. This is just one such incident and cannot be met with anything other than a custodial sentence,” she said.
Judge Greally imposed a six year sentence and suspended the final three years on strict conditions.
- Additional reporting by and Fiona Ferguson