Man who threw trolleys in path of gardaí in Centra during Storm Emma jailed
Judge says to act as John Doyle did ‘during a national emergency’ justified prison sentence
John Doyle, of Russell Drive, Russell Square, had pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to trespassing at Centra, Kiltalown, Tallaght on March 2nd, 2018 with the intention of committing theft.
A man arrested following the looting of a Centra during Storm Emma last year has been sentenced to two years in prison with the final year suspended.
John Doyle (38), who has 111 previous convictions, threw trolleys in the path of gardaí as they pursued him through the shop. He had only been in the shop for one minute and 30 seconds before gardaí arrived and was found with three packets of cigarettes.
Doyle, of Russell Drive, Russell Square, had pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to trespassing at Centra, Kiltalown, Tallaght on March 2nd, 2018 with the intention of committing theft.
On Wednesday, Judge Melanie Greally said to act as Doyle did “during a national emergency” was something that justified a prison sentence, and added that “under no circumstances could I consider a non-custodial sentence”.
“It was undoubtedly a very serious incident of anti-social and destructive behaviour, which brought shame on his community and his family,” the judge said.
She accepted that Doyle had a long-term partner who was “very pro-social and intolerant of his past bad behaviour and is a very positive influence on him”, and she also accepted that he was a devoted family man and father.
Judge Greally said she was taking into account Doyle’s expression of remorse, his efforts to rehabilitate and a large number of testimonials and references handed in on his behalf before she suspended the final 12 months of a two year sentence.
At a previous court sitting Detective Garda David Jennings told Eoghan Cole BL, prosecuting, that gardaí received a call shortly before 8pm during the “atrocious” weather conditions of Storm Emma that the security door of a Centra shop had been breached with a mechanical saw by a group of people.
Gardaí made their way as far as they could in a jeep and the remainder of the way on foot. As they arrived a large group of people on the road began shouting warnings that gardaí were coming.
Det Gda Jennings said the front shutter of the store had been cut open and people were coming out.
Gardaí entered the shop and Doyle took off towards the back of the premises, throwing trolleys to obstruct them. He was found crouched down trying to hide in the store room.
Two other men were found in that area of the shop, one of whom had a sledgehammer.
Doyle’s previous convictions included offences such as robbery, burglary, possession of stolen property, road traffic offences and criminal damage.
A co-accused, David Berney (37), of Suncroft Park, Tallaght, has already received an 18-month suspended sentence for his role in the incident.
Det Gda Jennings agreed with Sarah Jane O’Callaghan BL, defending, that 12 or 13 people could be seen coming in and out of the store on infrared CCTV footage and Doyle was identified by “work boots” he could be seen wearing.
He said the majority of the damage had already been done by the time Doyle entered the shop.
Det Gda Jennings agreed Doyle was not present when the shop shutters were cut open with a saw and that the cigarette machine had been forced open before he arrived.