An opportunistic criminal who robbed a cash box containing €25,000 while carrying a nail clippers has been given a three-year sentence.
Gary Kinlan (42), who has 129 previous convictions, committed the robbery after leaving Dublin District Court where he had just received an eight-month suspended sentence for another offence.
The cash-in-transit driver had dropped the box in fear after seeing a metal object he believed was a knife pressed into his side by Kinlan.
Kinlan, who had no tools or plan how to open the box, fell as he ran from the scene and gardaí were alerted to his movements by members of the public who saw a man passing with a cash box.
One passer-by who witnessed what happened took a picture of Kinlan carrying the cash box away.
Kinlan, of Summerhill Place, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery of the cash box at Crown Alley, Temple Bar, on December 3, 2018.
Judge Cormac Quinn noted Kinlan had earlier that day received a suspended sentence in the District Court, where he had also entered a good behaviour bond and been bound to keep the peace.
“Very shortly afterwards he was out on the street robbing a cash-in-transit security officer,” said the judge. He noted Kinlan was also on bail for other offences at the time.
Judge Quinn also took into account the effect on the victim and the amount of money involved, noting Kinlan had not been aware of the total value.
In mitigation he noted Kinlan's personal circumstances, including his drug and alcohol issues and that it had been a ‘spur-of-the-moment’ offence.
Judge Quinn imposed a three-sentence which he backdated to December 2018.
Sergeant Wayne Donnelly told Pieter Le Vert BL, prosecuting, that a cash-in-transit driver had just made a delivery of coins to a pub in Crown Alley and was returning to his van with a cash box.
He opened a side door of the van before his path was blocked by a man he had seen earlier drinking a can of beer in the alleyway. The man, Kinlan, told him to give him the money, said he had a knife and pushed something metal into his side.
The driver moved to the back of the van to get away from Kinlan and he followed the driver gesturing as if he would stab him. The driver dropped the box in fear, Kinlan grabbed it and ran.
Gardaí made their way to the scene and members of the public who spotted a man carrying a cash box down the street alerted them to his whereabouts.
He was initially spotted beside the Garda Ombudsman office, then on Parnell Street and onto O'Connell Street.
Gardai spotted him walking on Kings Inn Street carrying the cash box and stopped the patrol car. Kinlan attempted to evade them, dropping the unopened cash box, before being arrested.
A set of keys and nail clippers were taken from Kinlan following a search. He initially admitted going up to the driver with the nail clippers but later did not recall using them.
He said he had no idea how much money would be in the box and said he needed money to look after his kids.
Gda Donnelly agreed with Eoin Lawlor BL, defending, that at one time Kinlan would have been spending €500 to €600 per week on his drug addiction. He agreed that Kinlan's previous convictions were consistent with the blight of drug addiction.
Mr Lawlor said his client had begun using “hash” as a young man with others in his locality before moving onto tablets and heroin. He found himself in the grip of addiction at a young age.
He said Kinlan had managed to get a grip on his addiction for a time but relapsed following a family tragedy. He said Kinlan suffered difficulties with recollection as a result of a brain injury.
Counsel said Kinlan was remorseful and this had been a crime of opportunism. He said Kinlan had no idea how much money was inside the box, which had been recovered intact and untampered with.
He asked the court to structure a sentence which afforded Kinlan the opportunity for rehabilitation.