A man who robbed a coffee shop in Dublin while holding a broken glass bottle has been sentenced to four years in prison, with a year and a half suspended.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Glen Conroy (35), of North Fredrick Street, Dublin 1, pleaded guilty to one count of robbery at the Triangle Coffee Shop, Donabate, Co Dublin, on June 25th last year.
He has 67 previous convictions, including five for robbery.
Passing the sentence on Thursday, Judge Patricia Ryan said this was a “very difficult and sad case”.
Judge Ryan said an aggravating factor was that a broken glass bottle was held by the defendant during the robbery. She noted the effects the robbery had on the injured parties and that money was demanded and taken.
The judge said the mitigating factors included Conroy’s early guilty plea, his admissions, and his cooperation with gardaí.
She said the court heard and was familiar with Conroy’s family background and his childhood.
Judge Ryan said the court has to mark the seriousness of this offence while also adopting best practices. She outlined that the maximum sentence available was life. She set a headline sentence of six years.
Judge Ryan said this was a mid-range offence and sentenced Conroy to four years in prison, suspending the final 18 months for three years.
She further placed Conroy under the supervision of the probation services for two years. She backdated this sentence from when he went into custody on this matter.
She noted that Conroy committed this offence on June 23rd, 2023, and that his mother died from cancer weeks earlier, on June 10.
Garda Aishling Moore told Maddie Grant, BL, prosecuting, that she was on duty in a patrol car on the day in question.
She said she responded to a call which said a robbery had just taken place. Gardaí arrived at the Triangle Coffee Shop in Donabate shortly after 2pm, where they met two coffee shop workers.
The workers, who were aged 18 and 19 at the time of the offence, were the only people in the shop when Conroy entered holding a broken glass bottle.
Conroy went behind the counter and demanded money, ordering that it be placed in a shopping bag.
Gda Moore said one of the workers put money in the bag, and then Conroy grabbed the money and eventually grabbed the till tray. He left the shop shortly afterwards.
The workers gave a description of Conroy’s build and his clothing to gardaí. Approximately €300 was taken during the incident.
CCTV footage from the coffee shop and a nearby takeaway was obtained, and Conroy was identified.
Fingerprints from the till tray were also taken, which were later matched to Conroy.
The court heard that Conroy was arrested on July 27th, 2023, and during his interview with gardaí made full admissions and cooperated fully with officers.
None of the money taken by Conroy was recovered.
Neither of the coffee shop workers wanted to make victim impact statements.
Gda Moore agreed with Aidan McCarthy BL, defending, that his client stated during interview that he carried out the robbery out of fear and was ordered to do it, but refused to say who had pressurised him.
The garda agreed with counsel that Conroy was living in a homeless hostel at the time and was on drugs.
Mr McCarthy said his client comes from a large, fractured family.
He said his twin brother died in England last year, in addition to his mother’s death. He also lost two half-siblings to suicide and an overdose.
Counsel said his client was taken into care when he was two, and remained in the care of the State until he entered St Patrick’s Institute at 14.
He said Conroy and his twin brother were born addicted to drugs as their mother had been a drug addict.
He said his client has a diagnosis of bipolar and had drug addictions in the past.
He asked the court to be as lenient as possible and to take into consideration that Conroy was institutionalised from the age of two and incarcerated from the age of 14.