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28 Nov 2021

Five years jail for robber with nearly 100 convictions

MLA asks Lord Chief Justice to review sentence in football hooligans' case

A robber who raided his local shop while armed with what staff believed to be an ice pick just hours after he had been released on bail for an earlier robbery has been jailed for five years.

Ross Cahill (27), who has 94 previous convictions, first robbed a phone from a young man at a train station before robbing a local shop the same day he was released on bail.

Later that year, Cahill and an accomplice falsely imprisoned a young man in an attempt to get him to withdraw money at an ATM. The following month his mother rang gardai to tell them Cahill appeared to have been involved in the robbery of a shop near her home.

Cahill, of Holywell View, Feltrim Road, Swords, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four robberies on dates between August and December 2018. He also pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and attempted robbery on one of those occasions.

The court heard that during the robberies, a knife was either present or the threat of a knife was used.

Judge Melanie Greally noted the robberies had not been well planned or executed and Cahill had not taken any steps to conceal his identity or frustrate his detection. She said there had not been actual violence used in the offences, but there was some degree of physical coercion.

She took into account matters outlined to the court in a psychological report and noted Cahill’s difficult early life. She took into account his addiction to drugs at a young age, periods of homelessness, his chaotic existence and mental health issues.

The judge said he was now stable in prison and desires to have some structure in his life.

She said his mother had to be commended for the approach she had taken in relation to the robbery and noted that his mother was still supportive of her son and would support him on his release.

Judge Greally imposed consecutive sentences totalling seven years imprisonment and suspended the final two years on strict conditions, including supervision by the Probation Service.

Garda Doireann Byrne told Diane Stuart BL, prosecuting, that the first robbery took place at Malahide train station in August 2018. Cahill grabbed the young man’s phone, saying he wanted to play music. He produced a knife and told the young man he would not be getting his phone back.

He told the young man he would stab him if he called the gardai, then told him he was going to the chipper and not to follow him. Gardai found Cahill, who was described as drunk, in the chipper 15 minutes later and recovered the phone.

The garda said Cahill was charged and admitted to bail the following day. On that evening, he robbed his local Spar in Swords while armed with what was described by staff as an ice pick.

Members of the public who had gathered outside the shop were able to identify to gardai where Cahill, who had socks on his hands during the robbery, had gone.

The court heard a third robbery took place in Dublin city centre in which a phone was taken from a young man who was then brought to an ATM by Cahill and a female accomplice. The man believed the woman had a knife, although none was produced.

The young man was able to escape from the pair and cancel the transaction at the ATM before alerting gardai on the street. Cahill was arrested nearby.

The garda agreed with Emmett Nolan BL, defending, that the young man had been quite intoxicated.

Gda Byrne gave evidence of a final robbery at Spar, Holywell in Swords in December 2018. Gardai attended a panic alarm at the shop. They also received a call from Cahill’s mother that he had returned out of breath with money and appeared to have committed a robbery.

Cahill was unable to explain how he had come across the €200, which was recovered by gardai.

Mr Nolan said his client acknowledged this was an appalling series of offending and that Cahill feels a deep sense of shame and remorse.

He said his client was doing well in custody and was now drug free. He submitted these had been offences committed by a man in the grip of addiction feeding his habit. Cahill has expressed a wish to attend for residential drug treatment.

Counsel outlined Cahill had a difficult childhood and began abusing drugs and associating with a poor peer group.

Mr Nolan said Cahill was invariably intoxicated when he offended and has struggled with his mental health.

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