Longford teen forced to hand over €600 phone by man carrying knife

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A man who appeared before Longford District Court last week charged under the Theft & Fraud Offences Act was sentenced to 240 hours Community Service following a hearing into the matter.

Darren Mears (19), Clareen, Birr, Co Offaly appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes charged with robbing an Apple iPhone valued at €600 at Longford Library on September 10, 2016.

Outlining the evidence to the court, Garda Galvin said that on the date in question the injured party - a 16-year-old girl - came into town to meet up with her friends.

“Later in the afternoon she and her friends ended up in the company of Mr Mears; she had her phone out and Mr Mears took the phone from her,” the Garda added.

“She tried to get it back but Mr Mears wouldn’t give it to her.”

Meanwhile, the court heard that the defendant subsequently took the phone and told the girl that he was going to meet another person.

“Mr Mears put the phone in his pocket and as the girl tried to get it back, he produced a knife and dragged it down a wall,” Garda Galvin continued, before pointing out that gardai were in a position to view CCTV of the incident and it clearly showed the defendant dragging the knife down a nearby wall.

“We watched CCTV footage of the incident and it showed Mr Mears opening the knife and dragging it down the wall,” the Garda confirmed.

Knife crime

Commenting on the matter Judge Hughes said the case before him involved “knife crime”.

“A young fella going around with a knife and then produces it - that is knife crime,” the Judge fumed.

“This court takes a very serious view of crime involving concealed weapons.”

In mitigation, the defendant’s solicitor John Quinn said his client had been “showing off” in front of his friends at the time of the incident.

“This was more an aspect of bravado and showing off among friends,” Mr Quinn told Judge Hughes.

“There was an element of friendship between the injured party and Mr Mears.”
Judge Hughes then asked the defendant why he had a knife in his pocket in the first instance?

“It was stupidness Judge,” Mr Mears added.

“I wanted to have something in my pocket.”

Judge Hughes then asked him what he did with the phone.

“I threw it away,” said Mr Mears.

“It didn’t work.”

He then ordered the Probation Service to determine if the defendant was suitable for community service and when he was later told that Mr Mears was suitable, the Judge handed down 240 hours in lieu of five months in prison.

“Don’t fail to show up for your community service or you will be going to prison,” Judge Hughes warned the defendant before bringing matters to a conclusion.