A security company worker who provided information to criminals who had planned to steal €1m from a cash-in-transit van has been sentenced to three years in prison at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
In the first case of its kind to come before the courts, Darryl Caffrey (aged 34) of Cherry Park, Rivervalley, Swords pleaded guilty to "enhancing the ability of a criminal organisation to commit or facilitate a theft of cash from a vehicle" by providing information concerning the operation of the business of Chubb Ireland Ltd" at Tesco, Shackleton Road, Cellbridge on November 2, 2007.
The maximum penalty available to Judge Katherine Delahunt in sentencing Caffrey, who had one conviction for drunk driving, was five years in prison.
She said that Caffrey's information to gardaí was "critical" to the criminal gang who were involved in this robbery that had been "foiled by gardaí" and that his actions represented a "serious breach of trust" to his employers.
Judge Delahunt accepted that Caffrey had been under threat by the other criminals but said he was also offered a cash reward which she said Detective Garda Eamon Keane had earlier testified "was like a carrot" to him because he had been in financial difficulties.
She accepted that Caffrey had up to this been a "respectable, hardworking, member of the public who had virtually never come to garda attention" and there had been nothing in his past to indicate that he would get himself involved in such an offence.
Judge Delahunt said that Caffrey's guilty plea was valuable to the Director of Public Prosecutions considering the "level of disclosure" in the case but said there was "no question a custodial sentence" was warranted.
She suspended the last 12 months of Caffrey's sentence on condition that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour for two years upon his release from prison.
Det Gda Keane told prosecuting counsel, Mr Sean Guerin BL, that Caffrey was in regular contact with the robbers and sent them information about the routes and times of the cash van's deliveries.
He also sent them details of when he would be in the van and where would be the best location for a robbery.
Caffrey said he was contacted by the robbers in February 2007 and told to collect a phone left in a park. He was threatened he would be in danger if he didn't help them and was also promised 10% of the proceeds.
Det Gda Keane told the court that Caffery received 20 or 30 phone calls over the next several months and also had several meeting with them in person. He admitted on at least nine occasions he texted them details such as the registration numbers of vans and the delivery times of cash.
He told gardaí he knew there was going to be a robbery but didn't know when or where. He said he had financial problems at the time and didn't know if he would ever see the money promised to him.
Det Gda Keane said he and his colleagues set up a surveillance operation in Ballymun after receiving a confidential tip-off. They followed a car as it drove to the Chubb offices in Sandyford Industrial Estate.
They observed the car begin to follow a Chubb security van containing Caffery as a passenger. The van drove to the Tesco in Cellbridge as the car followed. After Caffery and the driver got out of the van to deliver the cash, several men exited the car and attempted to open the van with a key.
Gardaí moved in and arrested the men and when Caffery got back to the van he was also detained. He was taken to Lucan Garda Station where he made full admissions in interview.
Defence counsel, Mr Sean Gillane BL, said Caffery was drawn into the robbery by "a mixture of threat and temptation."
He said Caffery had decided to remain in custody on this matter for over a year even though he had the option of taking bail. Mr Gillane submitted that his early guilty plea is highly beneficial to the state as a trial would mean having to prove a book of evidence over 600 pages long.