A Portlaoise man who, along with his cousin, robbed two people by knifepoint of cash and a mobile phone has been told he may receive a suspended sentence if he continues to rehabilitate while in custody.
At the recent sitting of Portlaoise Circuit Court, Robert Dwane (25), Oakleaf Place, Portlaoise, was charged with two counts of robbery.
On November 3, 2018, the accused stole €140 from an injured party at Millbrook, Portlaoise.
On the same date, he stole a Samsung phone from another injured party.
Neither the phone nor the money was recovered.
On that date, both injured parties were walking along when they were approached by the accused and another man. A knife was produced during the incident. The accused said it was the other man, his cousin, who had the knife, but Judge Keenan Johnson said there was common design in the offence and both men were involved.
Both victims were traumatised in the robbery.
In victim impact evidence, one woman said she had experienced depression and anxiety and her confidence was shattered.
She said she already had anxiety at the time and her issues were compounded by the robbery.
“I won’t ever forget the feeling of fear for my life,” she said.
Judge Johnson said this was a very serious offence. He said the proliferation of knife crime was very serious in our society and the court had to deal with the matter in such a manner to deter others.
He noted that the accused had been in Cloverhill Prison since being arrested and he was engaging well and was now drug free.
The judge imposed a five-year sentence, but adjourned sentencing until June 23 next to see how the accused is progressing.
If everything positive then, Judge Johnson said he would impose the five-year sentence and suspend it for ten years on a number of conditions.
The judge also said he would ask Judge Catherine Staines to give €2,500 recompense to the injured party from the district court poor box. He said he hoped the woman could move on with her life.