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Man jailed for violent robbery


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Man jailed for violent robbery Man jailed for violent robbery

From the Galway City Tribune – A 21-year-old city man has been given a three-and-a-half-year sentence for carrying out the violent robbery of a gold ring and two mobile phones.

Thomas McDonagh, with an address at 19 Sliabh Rua, Ballybane, was before a sitting of Galway Circuit Criminal Court in Loughrea for sentencing after pleading guilty to the robbery.

The court heard McDonagh, who is already in prison serving a 20-month sentence on another offence, stole a gold ring valued at €1,000 and a Samsung phone worth €350 from James Sweeney Junior on January 24, 2020, at Sruthán Mhuirlinne, Ballybane.

The defendant also stole a second mobile phone which was recovered.

Garda Seán Flynn told Judge Brian O’Callaghan that another individual, who was not in court, had also been involved in the robbery.

Mr Sweeney called to the home of McDonagh on the day after the theft seeking to recover the items stolen and could positively identify his assailants as they were still wearing the same clothes, said the garda. The stolen items were not returned.

The injured party was not in court and had declined to provide a victim impact statement, said Garda Flynn, as he “just wants to forget about the matter”.

Defending barrister Brendan Browne BL said his client was suffering from drug and alcohol addiction and his recollection of the robbery was “somewhat hazy”.

The court heard McDonagh had 65 previous convictions, 32 of which were for theft, but Mr Browne said the majority of those took place while his client was a juvenile.

The defendant’s father and brother had died in 2021, and he was making efforts to address his addiction problems, added the defending counsel.

A probation report carried out on McDonagh had indicated that “the rehabilitation and    deterrent factors are likely to  be paramount in the court’s mind while determining an appropriate sentence”, said Mr Browne.

Judge O’Callaghan said the type of offending carried out by the defendant was “quite rightly’ a source of constant complaint in society.

“This young man [the victim] couldn’t walk around in peace and quiet without being bothered,” he said.

Mr Sweeney was subjected to a violent robbery, was punched and had two phones and a valuable ring stolen, said Judge O’Callaghan.

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“The court is amazed that the following day, when approached by this young man and his father, that [McDonagh] could not provide some form of redress for his victim,” he continued.

Judge O’Callaghan said he noted in the defendant’s probation report that a number of facilities had been made available to assist his recovery from addiction and “he’s not there yet, but there is potential”.

McDonagh’s offending was premediated, said the Judge, and there was a level of violence involved.

While the court would act to incentivise rehabilitation, Judge O’Callaghan said it was necessary to impose a sentence that would act as a deterrent for McDonagh and for others in society.

Handing down a headline sentence of five years imprisonment, he discounted this by 18 months to take into account the defendant’s early guilty plea, his young age at the time of the offence, his cooperation with gardaí and his personal circumstances.

Judge O’Callaghan said he would suspend the final 14 months of the remaining three-and-a-half-year sentence for two-and-a-half years on the basis that McDonagh must engage with the probation service for 18 months post release and remain abstinent from all alcohol and drugs.

This sentence runs concurrent to the 20-month sentence McDonagh is already serving, from which he is due for release in August 2024.

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