By Brion Hoban
A man who took part in the violent robbery of over €10,000 of mobile phones has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.
Karl Dalton (24) was one of three men who stole the phones from a man who had purchased them for his business.
The man was attacked near his home, with one of the robbers attempting to stab him and another hitting him with a wheel brace.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Dalton was linked to the robbery after his fingerprint was found on a car at the scene.
Dalton of Shancastle Park, Clondalkin, Dublin pleaded guilty to robbery at Griffeen Glen Avenue, Griffeen Valley, Lucan, Co Dublin, on February 16, 2019.
He has previous convictions for possession of drugs for sale or supply and road traffic offences.
Passing sentence Judge Melanie Greally said this was “a very serious incident” involving it appears some degree of premeditation and preplanning.
Judge Greally said the victim had been identified as someone with a large quantity of high-value phones.
She said that the victim was approached close to his home and threats were issued including one of the perpetrators shouting to “shoot him”.
She said Dalton’s offending seemed to be rooted in his addiction to drugs, particularly heroin, but he has stopped abusing the more serious drugs which led him to offending in the past.
She noted he plays “a hands-on role” in respect to his daughter and niece.
On Thursday Judge Greally sentenced Dalton to six years imprisonment, but suspended the final 18 months on strict conditions, including that he follow all directions of the Probation Service for 12 months post release.
Detective Garda Hugh O’Carroll told Karl Finnegan BL, prosecuting, that in December 2018 the victim opened a new business selling phones, gadgets and accessories.
Det Gda O’Carroll said the victim used money from a previous business to purchase high-quality phones for his shop in the city centre.
The detective said that on the evening in question, the victim was driving home and had the phones in two boxes in his car.
Another car drove very quickly towards him and stopped suddenly outside his house.
The man ran to the garden and heard people shouting to give him the phones and to “shoot him”.
He was aware of three individuals, one of whom took out a knife and tried to stab him three times after he had fallen in the garden.
Another man hit him once with a wheel brace. The victim said to take the boxes and not to kill him, and the robbers did so before getting into their car and driving off.
The total value of the phones was between €11,000 and €12,000. The shop’s insurance did not cover the phones, meaning the victim was at a personal loss.
Dalton was linked to the case after a palm print lifted from the bonnet of a car was matched to his fingerprints on the garda database.
He was arrested and interviewed, but nothing of evidential value arose.
Seán O’Quigley BL, defending, said his client was not the “brains of the operation” and has since disassociated from that peer group.
He said his client has been in employment since April of this year.
Counsel said his client had a difficulty with drugs as a younger man.
He said when his client’s mother received a bad diagnosis, he “went off the wagon” and started taking drugs again.
He said his client’s mother passed away last year and it was some “point of pride” that his client was doing better and she could see this before her death. He said his client lives with his sister and has one child.