A young man who went on a crime spree because he felt he was being pressured into an arranged marriage has been given a three-year sentence by Judge Katherine Delahunt at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
Brian Maughan (aged 22) of St Margarets Park, Ballymun violently robbed three taxi drivers within three days and broke into two occupied houses.
Judge Delahunt also reactivated the remaining three years of a partially suspended six and a half year term, handed down in 2008 for pushing a Chinese man into the Royal Canal in an attempt to rob him.
Judge Delahunt said Maughan had used violence to “cause terror” to his victims but said she wanted to help him with his drink and drug addictions. She sentenced him to three years to run concurrently to the reactivated three years but suspended the final 18 months on strict conditions.
Maughan pleaded guilty to three counts of robbery of taxi drivers at various locations in Dublin on February 21 and 23, 2009 and two counts of burglary on May 18, 2009 at Drew Court and Poppintree, Ballymun.
Detective Garda Alan Lynch told prosecuting counsel, Mr James Dwyer BL, that Maughan and another man got a taxi from O’Connell Street to Ballymun and when they arrived they grabbed the driver’s throat and claimed they had a knife and gun.
They then took turns joyriding his taxi as the driver was made to wait by the side of the road. While this was going on one of them told the driver that he knew his family and threatened to take them hostage.
They fled with his money, taxi license and phone and two days later Maughan robbed another two taxi drivers within hours of each other. In each robbery he attacked the driver and grabbed his throat.
Maughan was identified by gardai through CCTV footage and arrested. He claimed in interview he needed the money for his drug habit and was very sorry for his victims.
Det Gda Lynch said Maughan was also arrested for breaking into two Ballymun houses and stealing jackets from each before he was scared off by the homeowners. He has 25 previous convictions including assault, public order and attempted robbery.
His defence counsel, Mr Pieter Le Vert, said Maughan was a member of the travelling community and had a child with his partner. When he went into prison for the assault on the Chinese national that relationship ended and on his release his family arranged for him to marry another woman.
Mr Le Vert said his client felt pressured into the marriage and wanted to get back with the mother of his child. He said the pressure forced him to turn to drink and drugs which in turn forced him to commit the robberies.
He said Maughan had been “too cocky” coming out of prison and did not realise he needed support. He said he was now addressing his addiction problems and was back with the mother of his child.