A Cork judge has said far too many people are being mugged as they return home late at night in Cork city, following the sentencing of a 27-year-old man for one such robbery.
Judge Sean O Donnabhain said he had witnessed an increase in recent months in the numbers of incidents where people were attacked for relatively small sums.
“This type of crime in the city seems to be on the increase - I’m noticing a lot of this type of crime - robbing people for relatively small amounts of money and mobile phones,” he said.
Judge O Donnabhain made his comments in the case of Ian Martin from Green Street, Cork who had pleaded guilty to robbery of a man on Barrack St on May 11th last.
Garda Aoife Hayes told Cork Circuit Criminal Court that Adam Calnan was walking home when two men walking in front of him turned around and dragged him down a laneway.
Martin was one of the two men and although they didn’t brandish or produce any knife, they threatened to cut Mr Calnan’s throat before stealing his iPhone and wallet.
Mr Calnan wasn’t physically injured but was very badly shaken by the incident, said Garda Hayes, adding that he was present in court but did not wish to address the judge.
Garda Hayes said gardaí identified Martin using CCTV footage. They also traced the iPhone to Green Street but were unable to recover it.
Martin initially did not co-operate with gardaí but on a third interview, he identified himself on CCTV footage and admitted his involvement in the offence, she said
Garda Hayes said Martin had been given a two year jail term for robbery on November 8th 2012 but it had been suspended by Judge O’Donnabhain when he committed this robbery.
Defence counsel, Dermot Sheehan SC said Martin was going through a difficult period at the time of both robberies as he was abusing both alcohol and drugs.
“His difficulty now isn’t with drugs - his difficulty now is with me - I gave him two years suspended in 2012 and less than six months later he did this,” said Judge O Donnabhain.
Martin took the witness stand to apologise to both Mr Calnan and the court and said he was abusing drink and drugs at the time and didn’t know what he was doing.
However, Judge O Donnabhain said everything Martin was saying, he had previously said in 2012 and had failed to take the chance given to him on that occasion.
“He doesn’t deserve a second chance, “ said Judge O’Donnabhain, adding that what he had perpetrated on Mr Calnan was “an act of pure violence.”
He noted Martin’s guilty plea and his co-operation as he reactivated the two year suspended term and then sentenced him to a year consecutive for the latest robbery.