A serial robber who was “introduced to criminality” by his drug-addicted parents at the age of 10 has been sentenced to 11 years for robbing three of his local pharmacies.
Lee Boylan (aka Lee Black) (aged 31) of Smithfield Terrace, Smithfield, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to five separate robberies between January 2012 and April 2012.
He raided one of the pharmacies three times in the space of 10 days. During the final robbery of this store the owner told him that she had no more drugs to give him because he had taken them all.
Garda Colin Davidson told Anne Marie Lawlor BL, prosecuting, when the evidence was first heard last June, that these five robberies were committed while Boylan was on a suspended portion of a sentence he received in 2008.
He was also on High Court bail when he carried out the final two robberies.
Boylan was released from prison in late 2011, from the 2008 sentence, on the condition that he engage with drug treatment and not come to garda attention for three years. He failed to go for treatment and within a number of months he was back to carrying out armed robberies.
He has 52 previous convictions for robbery, attempted robbery, burglary, possession of knives, criminal damage and theft.
Sean Guerin SC defending read from a psychiatric report which outlined that Boylan’s parents sent him out to steal in order to fund their own drug addictions when he was 10 years old.
His four siblings had previously been taken into care but he was allowed remain at home.
By the time Boylan was 12 years of age he was taking drugs with his parents and assisting his mother in finding a vein so she could shoot up heroin.
Mr Guerin told Judge Mary Ellen Ring that his client’s first recorded conviction occurred a week before his 11th birthday and said he has had “little experience of liberty since”.
He described Boylan as “a chaotic and impulsive offender” but added that he is neither dangerous nor malicious. He reminded the judge that no staff members were injured during the course of the robberies.
Mr Guerin said his client has since motivated himself and has stabilised his drug addiction.
The drug addiction counsellor in Wheatfield Prison concluded in a report before the court that Boylan was suitable for residential drug treatment but is waiting on a place to become available.
Counsel submitted that the fact Boylan carried out five robberies of pharmacies so close to his home supported a contention that he was “chaotic, desperate and incapable of controlling himself”.
“He was introduced to criminality by his own parents,” Mr Guerin submitted before he suggested that the court should allow his client to attend for treatment before finalising sentence.
Judge Ring had previously adjourned the case and ordered a probation report.
She said the staff in the pharmacies would have been traumatised by Boylan returning to them and said such establishments were an “easy target”.
Judge Ring later granted Boylan bail on July 23 to attend for drug treatment with Father Peter McVerry but when he got to the centre he failed a drug test and was not allowed in.
A warrant was issued for his arrest when he didn’t alert his solicitor to the fact that he had not attended for treatment. He was arrested on July 31 and has been remanded in custody since.
Judge Ring said today that Boylan didn’t take the opportunity given to him by Judge Katherine Delahunt in 2011 to get drug free nor had he taken the chance that she had given him in July.
She accepted that he was deficient in terms of his education and employment, “flowing from what he grew up with and what he saw in his own life” but said he was now 31 years old and had to start taking responsibility for his drug addiction.
The judge re-activated the three year balance of the sentence handed down in 2008 before she imposed a consecutive term of eight years. She suspended the final 12 months on condition that he liaise with the Probation Service upon his release.
Boylan was still on the suspended portion of the sentence when he raided Blackhall Pharmacy on January 7, 2012. He used a knife to threaten staff before he left with cash and drugs.
He returned two days later and robbed the pharmacy again before he raided to it the final time on January 17, 2012.
Boylan was arrested after he was identified on CCTV footage and although initially remanded in custody, he was granted High Court bail on April 23, 2012.
Five days later he carried out a fourth raid on another pharmacy and a fifth robbery of a third chemist two days after that on April 30, 2012. He was arrested and remanded in custody for sentence.
Boylan was caught each time by gardaí after viewing CCTV footage and in each robbery he threatened staff with knives, on one occasion an axe, before he fled with cash and prescription medication.