A man who cut the eye of “a vulnerable person” with a knife during an attempted robbery has been jailed for five years.
Patrick Byrne (23) of Neilstown Avenue, Clondalkin, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to attempted robbery on a street in Clondalkin on October 9, 2018.
Garda Barry O'Shea told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that on the date in question, then 41-year-old man David Cleary had left the city centre hostel in which he was residing in order to visit his mother in the Clondalkin area.
Gda O'Shea said Mr Cleary first collected money from the Salvation Army who were managing his money at that time. Mr Cleary then went to the local shops on behalf of his mother.
While on his way, Mr Cleary was approached by Byrne and asked if he wanted to buy any drugs. When the victim declined, Byrne became aggressive, produced a knife and shouted to “give me the money”.
The accused kicked Mr Cleary to the ground and attacked him with his knife before fleeing, having failed to take any money. Mr Cleary sustained two cuts to his back, a cut to his index finger and a cut to his eye.
Byrne has 21 previous convictions, including previous convictions for robbery, attempted robbery and assault causing harm. He is currently serving a five year sentence with the final two years suspended for offences including possession of drugs.
Gda O'Shea agreed with Luigi Rea BL, defending, that his client started to abuse cannabis aged 14 and later moved on to taking cocaine and various tablets. He agreed that 16 of his previous convictions were recorded as a juvenile.
Judge Melanie Greally said that the victim appears to have been “a vulnerable person” who had achieved some stability. She said he sustained “significant visual impairment” as a consequence of the injury to his eye.
Judge Greally said she took into account that Byrne was someone who had battled addiction difficulties and noted that a limited number of his previous convictions involved “serious violence”.
She sentenced Byrne to six-and-a-half years imprisonment, but suspended the final 18 months of the sentence on strict conditions. She ordered that the sentence run concurrent to the sentences Byrne is currently serving.