A DUBLIN man who robbed hundreds of euro from a convenience store has been told if he stays off illicit drugs he will not go to prison.
Mervin White, aged 34, who has an address at Mallow Street admitted threatening a worker at the Gala store, Quinlan Street minutes after he was refused money by a Parish Clerk at St Joseph’s church.
During a sentencing hearing in September, Detective Garda Brendan Stokes said the defendant entered the store at around 6.30pm on March 9, 2013.
After approaching the counter, White asked a female member of staff for a packet of cigarettes and when she turned around produced a Stanley Knife and demanded the contents of the till.
He escaped with between €400 and €600 in cash.
Detective Garda Stokes said that Mr Whyte could not be identified on CCTV footage from the store but that he was identified on footage from St Joseph’s Church, which was recorded at 6.25pm - five minutes before the robbery.
During a search of the defendant’s home an empty Methadone bottle was found, which was dated the same date as the robbery offence.
CCTV from the pharmacy where the prescription was dispensed shows White wearing similar clothes to those being worn by the robber at the Gala store.
John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting said there was strong circumstantial evidence in the case and he told the court the defendant made admissions following his arrest.
Det Garda Stokes said the accused told gardai it was a “spur of the moment thing” and that he had robbed the shop to repay a debt.
Brian McInerney BL, defending, said his client, who has 22 previous convictions, is a chronic drug addict and “owed a heroin debt to the wrong kind of people” and that he regrets his actions on the night.
“He is a completely different person minus drugs,” he said adding that he comes from a good family.
Imposing sentence, Judge Carroll Moran noted that Mr Whyte is “doing his best to stay drug-free”.
After he gave a sworn undertaking to stay off illicit drugs and co-operate with the Probation Service, he imposed a four year prison sentence, which he suspended for four years.