A former Moldovan trainee police officer has been given a one-year sentence for burglary of two Dublin city centre shops during the "Love Ulster" riot last year.
Ion Brodescu (aged 24), with an address at Summer Street, Summerhill told gardaí he had kicked a shop glass door to make sure it would not fall on anyone.
He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary at the Schuh and Footlocker shops on O’Connell Street on February 25, 2006.
Garda John Paul Moriarty told Mr Noel Devitt BL, prosecuting, that the managers of both shops had closed them due to fear arising from the tension on the street . Brodescu kicked in the glass door at Footlocker and was arrested after a Garda observed him emerging from it.
Gda Moriarty said CCTV footage on O’Connell Street also linked Brodescu to the offences. He gave a false name and address at first and it took some weeks to establish his identity.
Brodescu claimed he had followed a person he thought was his friend into the shop but left when he realised it was not his friend. When asked why he was seen kicking in the glass door he replied he was making sure it wouldn’t fall on anyone. No cash or merchandise was found on him when arrested.
Gda Moriarty agreed with defence counsel, Mr Breffni Gordon BL, that Brodescu had acted in an opportunistic way rather than in a pre-planned manner,
Mr Gordon said Brodescu’s mother was a bank official and his father was employed as a driver. He had a sister at university and after his own secondary education he had studied for two years of the five year course at a Moldovan Police Academy.
Counsel said Brodescu left the academy because he was unhappy with his choice of career and came to Ireland where he was earning up to €650 a week as a building labourer.
It had not been his intention to become involved in any criminal activity in Ireland.
Mr Gordon further submitted that in his opinion this case could have been dealt with summarily in the District Court rather than on indictment which left Brodescu facing a possible 14-year sentence. He had been in custody for almost five months now after failing to abide by his bail bond.
Judge Katherine Delahunt imposed a one-year concurrent sentence on each charge and suspended the final three months on condition that Brodescu reside with an uncle, who was in court.