Portlaoise man who robbed 79-year-old woman is 'developing a conscience'

Handbag snatched

Portlaoise man who robbed 79-year-old woman is 'developing a conscience'

A Laois man who snatched a 79-year-old woman’s handbag is finally beginning to develop a conscience, according to his solicitor.

At last week’s sitting of Portlaoise District Court was Robert Dwane, with an address at Mountain View Square, Portlaoise, charged with an offence under the theft act.

Inspector Eamonn Curley gave evidence that on February 4 this year, a 79-year-old woman got off a bus at James Fintan Lalor Avenue, Portlaoise, and made her way towards the Main Street.

The accused, who was part of a group, followed her and snatched her handbag.

He used minimum force and ran off, said Insp Curley.

On March 7, during a sitting of Portlaoise Circuit Court, the accused approached a garda and said he wanted to get something off his chest, confessing to the crime.

Defence, Mr Barry Fitzgerald said his client had been released from prison on June 2 and a probation report is due before the court on September 7 next on other matters.

Mr Fitzgerald accepted that the current charge was by far the most serious offence his client had committed, but he had made admissions to the gardaí on his own.

“He seems to be developing a conscience,” said Mr Fitzgerald, adding that the accused had been behaving impeccably since his recent release from jail.

Defence said that the accused had disassociated from his regular peer group, which had included a number of older men, and is now clean from drugs.

Mr Fitzgerald also said the accused had written a letter of apology to the injured party.

The accused could also offer €50 compensation in September, said Mr Fitzgerald.

Directing the letter of apology go to the injured party, Judge Catherine Staines put the matter back to September 7 for a victim impact statement.

She also directed the accused to have a lot more compensation than €50.