A PORTLAOISE man who robbed a teenager at the train station has been given a suspended sentence by the district court, with Judge Catherine Staines warning him that if he steps out of line again he will go into detention.
John McDonagh, with an address at 7 Old Mill, Portlaoise, committed the offence at the Portlaoise train station on June 15 last year. He was convicted at a previous court sitting and ordered to pay compensation and write a letter of apology to the injured party.
At last week’s court, solicitor for McDonagh submitted the letter of apology to Judge Staines. After reading the letter, the judge remarked that it was addressed to the court.
“I wanted a letter of apology to the injured party,” she said.
Defence pointed out that the letter did say sorry, but Judge Staines reminded McDonagh of the seriousness of his offence.
“The victim was a teenager waiting on a train to Dublin, who was so scared after the incident he had to lock himself in the toilet on the train,” said the judge. “Do you realise how serious it is?”
Judge Staines said she noted McDonagh had co-operated fully with the probation service and she acknowledged that he had come from a difficult family background, having been a victim of violence at a young age. She said that with the help of the charity Fresh Start, he was starting to finally settle down and was making a genuine effort to deal with his drug addiction.
She imposed a ten-month sentence, suspended for two years on his own bond of €100.
Judge Staines concluded by saying she appreciated the difficulties McDonagh had faced in his own life, but it was no excuse for his actions.
“Step out of line once and you’re going into detention,” she warned.