David Ryan, aged 28, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to intentionally or recklessly taking the child without consent at Liffey St Upper on June 11, 2015. He has 112 previous convictions which were dealt with in the district court and include criminal damage, public order, theft, and fraud offences.
Sean Gillane SC, defending, said the State had agreed that the guilty plea was on the basis of reckless commission rather than intentional.
Garda Elaine Holmes told Noel Devitt BL, prosecuting, that the boy, who has Down syndrome, had been with his parents at an appointment before his father took him to Burger King to get food.
The man later left the child in a buggy facing into a shop before he went into it momentarily. He returned to find the boy was gone and called gardaí immediately.
Gda Holmes said a woman had spotted Ryan pushing the buggy with the boy and could clearly see he was “out of it”. He abandoned the child outside Arnotts.
The child had been reunited with his father within 10 or 15 minutes. Arnotts staff had gone through CCTV footage and gardaí had a description of the culprit before Gda Holmes met with the father.
She then spotted Ryan walking towards her with his eyes closed and arrested him immediately. Ryan was initially too intoxicated to be interviewed but later told gardaí “if it was me I am very sorry for what I did”.
A victim impact report said the boy had been upset at school the next day but otherwise there had been no significant knock-on effect.