A man who continues to deny his part in the armed robbery of a Dublin post office has been jailed for 12 years.
Keith Murtagh (35) of Mariner's Port, Sheriff Street, Dublin had pleaded not guilty to robbery at the Roebuck post office at Farmhill Road, Goatstown, Dublin on January 5, 2016.
Murtagh had also pleaded not guilty to possession of a shotgun and possession of a shotgun cartridge on the same date. After a 10-day trial last July at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, a jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts on all charges.
Passing sentence today, Judge Melanie Greally said the case was aggravated by the premeditated nature of the incident, during which a firearm was discharged. She noted Murtagh has a previous conviction for a similar type of offence.
Judge Greally said she gave the accused credit for meeting gardaí voluntarily and giving them a DNA sample, his difficult childhood, the fact that he is a young man who is making the best of his situation in prison and that he runs for charitable causes.
She sentenced Murtagh to 12 years' imprisonment which she backdated to the date he first went into custody in November 2017.
At an earlier sentence hearing, Detective Garda Lisa McHugh told Dean Kelly BL, prosecuting, that on the date in question, two men entered the post office, one armed with a handgun and one with a shotgun.
Dt Gda McHugh said the man with the handgun ordered people to get on the ground while the other man discharged two shotgun blasts into the glass partition. This man then climbed over the desk into the back of the post office.
Dt Gda McHugh said the two men left the scene in a stolen car which they then abandoned in a lane around 400 or 500 metres away. CCTV footage obtained from a house in that area showed a grey Renault Scenic moving at an unusual speed.
Two nights later, Murtagh was a passenger in a grey Scenic car when the car ran out of petrol in the Dalkey area. Gardaí stopped to assist them and returned with a can of petrol but a routine check found there was a minor road traffic offence outstanding and the car was seized.
Two pairs of tracksuit trousers were found in the backseat of the car. A forensic analysis of these identified fragments of glass which had the same refractive index as the glass from the post office counter.
A forensic scientist told the trial the glass found and the glass in the post office both had a refractive index which occurs in less than one per cent of glass and was very rare.
An unspent shotgun cartridge was also discovered in the abandoned car which was found to have Murtagh's DNA on it.
A total of €2,754 was stolen from the post office and a further €420 from the tills of a fine food shop on the same premises.
Murtagh has 42 previous convictions, including convictions for attempted robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm relating to an attempted robbery of a cash-in-transit van in Lucan in May 15, 2009.
Garnet Orange SC, defending, asked the court to have regard for the fact that his client had spent most of his life in prison. He said Murtagh had done a number of mini-marathons while in custody to raise money for good causes.
Mr Orange said his client accepted that there was evidence before the jury that entitled them to come to the verdict to which they came, but he maintains his innocence of the charges.