A judge has said that a firearm used during a failed robbery was likely an imitation given the “sheer incompetence” displayed by the raider.
Dubliner Derek Ennis (41) pulled his hood down when asked by an employee of a bookmakers just before an attempted robbery in which he failed to steal any money and was “easily identifiable” on CCTV footage as a result.
Ennis of Strandmill Road, Portmarnock pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to attempted robbery at Paddy Power, Seafort Avenue, Sandymount, south Dublin on February 26, 2020.
He has six previous convictions for robbery. His other previous convictions include theft, assault causing harm, endangerment, production of an article in the course of a dispute and possession of drugs for sale or supply.
Passing sentence, Judge Martin Nolan said if he were pushed to come to a conclusion, he would say the firearm was an imitation “due to the sheer incompetence of the crime”.
Judge Nolan said it seemed unlikely that a man behaving in such a way could acquire a real firearm before he sentenced Ennis to four and a half years imprisonment.
Detective Garda Shane Cahill told Sinéad McMullan BL, prosecuting, that Ennis entered the bookmakers with his hood up, but took his hood down when he was asked to do so by an employee.
Det Gda Cahill said Ennis approached the employee, who was standing behind a counter, and pointed a gun at him. He said it was not clear whether the gun was real or an imitation.
The employee fled and managed to hide, pushing a panic button which alerted gardaí. When he emerged from hiding five minutes later the accused was gone.
Det Gda Cahill agreed with Emmet Nolan BL, defending, that this was “a particularly poorly executed criminal enterprise”. He agreed that nothing was taken and Ennis was “easily identifiable” on the CCTV footage.
Mr Nolan said this was “a completely incompetent act” and that it was “difficult to conceive” how his client would not be caught. He said his client had a lifelong addiction to drugs and that he needed money to feed his habit on the date in question.
Counsel said his client was released from custody in 2017 having served a lengthy sentence and worked as a landscape gardener until injuring his back. He said his client witnessed a friend of his being beaten to death before his eyes.
He said his client was out with a friend in July 2019, but went home early and declined his friend's efforts to have him come back out. He said his client's friend died by suicide on a golf course and this incident plunged his client back into addiction.