A Portarlington resident who attempted to rob a local shop armed with a knife while he was “drugged out of it” has been sentenced to jail.
Kamil Cruk (26), 9 Ballymorris Manor, Portarlington, was charged with attempted robbery, at the Link Road, Portarlington, on February 20, 2018, and theft from Centra, Main Street, Portarlington, on February 19.
At Portlaoise Circuit Court, Garda Corcoran gave evidence, along with State barrister, Mr Will Fennelly, that on February 20, a lone male wearing sunglasses entered the Polish shop on the Link Road armed with a knife. He demanded money from the female shop assistant and she fled to the back of the shop, so the male turned and ran out. He did not go behind the counter at any point.
In a victim impact statement, the shop assistant said she had faced a real threat to her life. She said the doors at the back of the shop were closed so there was no escape for her.
She said she heard the hate and malice in his voice and she felt shock, fear and helplessness.
“My legs went out from under me,” she said, “I had no chance of defending myself.”
She said that she can no longer sleep peacefully and is afraid to open the door. Any incoming customers to the shop are now potential threats and she is afraid of any customer she can’t recognise.
She said she is afraid to go to work and feels totally defenceless.
Judge Keenan Johnson said the victim seemed to have post traumatic stress disorder.
The accused was arrested at his home address and made certain admissions.
When questioned about the robbery, the accused said he wasn’t thinking straight.
“I don’t remember jack sh*t,” he told gardaí.
Mr Fennelly said that the accused repeatedly said he could not remember as he was “drugged out of it” at the time.
Garda Corcoran confirmed that the accused made no admissions recalling the knife at all.
In relation to the theft charge on February 19, Garda Corcoran gave evidence that CCTV footage showed the accused removing tin foil and muffins from a shop.
When arrested, the accused admitted this offence.
Garda Corcoran said the accused had been addicted to tablets and heroin for ten years.
The accused had previous convictions, including possession of knives, criminal damage and drugs offences.
A probation report had assessed the accused at a high risk of reoffending. An aggravating factor considered by Judge Johnson was that the accused had tried to minimise the production of the knife.
The judge also said he was disappointed the accused had not come to court with compensation.
The judge imposed a three-year sentence, with the final two years suspended for five years on condition the accused entered into a peace bond for two years; he remains under probation supervision for 18 months; he remains drug and alcohol free; he engages with training and employment; and he pays €2,500 compensation to the victim.
The accused was also appealing a district court conviction for stealing meat from Lidl. Judge Johnson noted that this appeal related to an offence committed on the same date as the current charges.
The judge affirmed this sentence, to run concurrent to the new sentence imposed.