Two Dublin men accused of carrying out an aggravated burglary at a house in Edgeworthstown were sentenced to nine years each in prison with the final two years suspended at a recent sitting of Longford Circuit Court.
Noel Kinsella (41), 15A St Anthony’s Road, Rialto, Dublin 8 and John Ryan (35), 104 Cashel Avenue, Crumlin, Dublin 12 pleaded guilty to an aggravated burglary at 25 Cloverwell, Edgeworthstown on October 11, 2015.
The court heard that the house was occupied at the time and that a laptop, cash, jewellery, an iPod, mobile phones and keys to a van and cars were among the items taken in the burglary.
The court heard that the house was occupied at the time by Adil Raza and his wife Hafa Hussain, their two young children and Mr Raza's parents.
In his statement, Mr Raza explained that his father, who is confined to a wheelchair, slept in a downstairs bedroom at the front of the house.
On the night in question, Mr Raza went downstairs when he heard his father call to him, telling him that there were two men outside. Ms Hussain also came downstairs after seeing someone in the backyard of the house.
Mr Raza said he opened a window and shouted at a man, who had been peeping out from behind the family’s van. They then heard a bang, as a second man hit the back patio door with an iron bar, used for market stalls, which was shown to the court.
Mr Raza then said that he went to the dining area and picked up a kitchen chair in case he succeeded in entering the house, but he then heard two big bangs at the front door, where the man who had been at the front of the house gained entry.
The man was wearing a protective mask and allegedly put a knife to Mr Raza’s father and told the family members to stand in one place. Mr Raza's mother, the court heard, had come downstairs shortly beforehand.
The court then heard that the men asked for money, and that one of them shook the knife at Mr Raza and ordered him upstairs with a black bag. The men got distracted and Mr Raza quickly called his mother-in-law to alert the authorities.
Giving his evidence, Garda Gary Beattie told the court that when he arrived at the house, he saw two men wearing building helmets and hi-vis jackets coming out of the front door. He shouted at them to stop, but they ran and he gave chase to both on foot. He observed the taller of the two men, later revealed to be Mr Ryan, jumping over a wall but caught and restrained the second man, Mr Kinsella, and cautioned him.
On his way to Granard Garda Station Mr Kinsella began to kick the rear window of the patrol car, refused to give his details, and upon arrival at the Garda station, he took off his clothes and threw everything apart from his underwear on the ground. When one Garda informed a second Garda of the defendant’s identity, Mr Kinsella struck him.
He was then taken to his cell, where he continued to invite members of an Garda Síochána in to fight and he refused to accept the forensic suit he was offered by the Gardaí, instead spitting at the hatch. He was not fit for questioning on the night. He was later interviewed but gave no comment.
Counsel for Mr Kinsella, Mr Ray, BL, revealed that Mr Kinsella is a father-of-two and that he lives with his parents. His client left school at 11 and later found himself in institutions including Trinity House, St Lawrence’s and St Patrick’s.
The court heard that from the age of 12, Mr Kinsella had been abusing alcohol and moved onto other substances such as cannabis, sleeping tablets and diamorphine. Mr Ray also revealed that his client had taken sleeping tablets on the night of the offence and that he is now on a methadone programme in the prison system.
The second defendant, John Ryan, believed to have used the knife in the burglary, was arrested a short time later by Garda Angela Keegan, who said she stopped the defendant in a car at approximately 2.11am.
Garda Keegan then explained that as they entered the rear door of the Garda station, the defendant lunged forward with his head, breaking glass in the door and injuring himself. He became agitated and a GP was called, who directed that questioning be suspended until the defendant was fit.
It was believed that both defendants were heavily under the influence of drugs on the night in question.
When questioned by Counsel for Mr Ryan, Mr Dwyer, BL, Garda Keegan admitted that Mr Ryan could have escaped on the night but had co-operated.
The court then heard that both defendants have previous convictions and were currently serving sentences for other matters.
Mr Dwyer then revealed that Mr Ryan is in a long-term relationship since the age of twenty and that his partner has serious medical issues. The couple have a son, who also has health issues.
Victim impact statements
Four victim impact statements were then read out to the court prepared by Mr Raza, his parents and his wife.
The statements detailed how the family had to move overnight to a home which did not suit their needs.
Both Mr Raza and Ms Hussain outlined their ongoing fears after the event.
Ms Hussain pointed out that she had been forced to give up some of her responsibilities at work while her online business was forced to close. She also pointed out that due to their move, her father-in-law is sleeping in a single bed in the kitchen.
Mr Raza’s father explained that the incident has made him stressed and has caused numerous health issues while his mother revealed that her health and mental health had suffered.
Mr Ray then addressed the court, revealing that his client had been dealing with the Rialto Community Drug team prior to his incarceration, while he had three certificates from Merchant’s Quay and other organisations. Mr Ray also handed in a handwritten letter from Mr Kinsella which detailed many of the matters raised by a report from the Rialto Community Drug team. He also handed in a clinical psychologist's report before adding that Mr Kinsella wished to put his addiction, the key to his offending, behind him.
Speaking on behalf of his client Mr Ryan, Mr Dwyer expressed sincere remorse to the victims of the crime, to the community and to the court. Mr Dwyer revealed that Mr Ryan is now drug-free, including methadone, while a psychological report which came before the court stated that Mr Ryan had engaged well with the tasks put to him.
Stating that Mr Ryan had a happy childhood, Mr Dwyer said his client had engaged in anti-social behaviour as a youth and spent many years in St Patrick’s. He also abused a variety of drugs and left school at the age of 15.
The court then heard that while Mr Ryan had been clean for a time after receiving treatment in 2009, the death of his father and sister saw him slip back into drugs.
Both men were sentenced to nine years each in prison with the final two years suspended. Judge Keenan Johnson described what happened as a “serious offence” and directed that while in prison each of the men engage positively with the drug addiction and counselling services available to them.
During his deliberations on the matter, Judge Johnson said that each of the accused entered the house in Edgeworthstown as trespassers and stole a quantity of assorted items.
He remarked at length about the distress the incident had caused to the family and the impact it has had on them.
Judge Johnson went on to say that no sentence imposed by the court could undo the “grave wrong” that had been perpetrated on Mr Raza and his family.
He added, “I would urge Mr Raza and his family to try and move on from this experience and not allow it to define and constrain their lives”.
The Judge also said that there was some consolation from the fact that aggravated burglaries in areas like Edgeworthstown were relatively rare and the family was unlikely to become victims of a similar type of offence in the future.
The Judge also complemented the Gardaí on their handling of the situation, giving special mention to Garda Beatty for what he described as the Garda’s “bravery in going to the scene on his own and tackling the offenders”.