A 26-year-old Laois man has received prison sentences of five years and two years for two separate counts of robbery, one which involved forcing his way into the home of a 68-year-old man in Mountrath armed with a knife, and one which involved threatening a fast food delivery man with a weapon.
“This court has to send out a clear message that people like the accused who engage in this type of offending can expect a harsh sentence, not so much to punish the accused but to deter others from engaging in such activity,” said Judge Keenan Johnson, in the sentencing of Stephen Brophy (26), with addresses in Laois.
“Unfortunately the problem of aggravated burglary has become far too revalent in County Laois and it is a source of much disquiet amongst the general populace,” said the judge.
At the recent sitting of Portlaoise Circuit Court, Judge Johnson said the most serious charge was the aggravated burglary, on November 29, 2016, of the 68-year-old man at his home at New Road, Mountrath.
Brophy forced his way into the house, with a torch in his left hand and a knife in his right hand, and knocked the injured party to the ground. He held the knife to the injured party’s throat and demanded money. The injured party was so traumatised he soiled himself, the court heard.
Since the attack the injured party feels scared and doesn’t go out at all. He is scared all the time and blames himself for answering the door on the night.
“It is a terrible thing to see a victim apportioning some blame to himself for what happened. It is abundantly clear that he was the innocent victim of the accused’s offending and should under no circumstances attach any blame to himself for what happened,” said Judge Johnson.
He went on to say: ““It’s an appalling state of affairs that somebody as vulnerable as the injured party should be subjected to such a frightening attack within his own home.”
Brophy was also sentenced for the robbery of a fast food delivery man on November 28, 2016. The delivery man was approached by two males, one of whom was the accused who had either an iron bar or a knife in his hand. The delivery man was threatened to hand over money, but he refused so the accused grabbed the money and fled the scene.
For the offence against the 68-year-old, Brophy was sentenced to five years, with the final year suspended for five years on condition the accused enter into a peace bond of €500, and remain under probation supervision for 12 months post release.
For the robbery of the delivery man, he was sentenced to two years to run concurrent. There were additional theft and burglary matters which were taken into consideration.