26 Sept 2022

Man jailed for threatening to burn down business owner's house over 'debt' owed to his godfather

Man jailed for threatening to burn down business owner's house over 'debt' owed to his godfather

A father-of-two who threatened to burn down the house of a business owner if he did not give €58,000 to his godfather has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Robert Redmond (32) was sent to collect this “debt” by a man who the court heard was his godfather in the Catholic sense “rather than the Al Pacino sense”.

Redmond of Streamville Road, Kilbarrack, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to making an unwarranted demand with menace at Newton Industrial Estate, Coolock, on September 26, 2019. He has 90 previous convictions, including for drugs and road traffic offences.

Detective Garda Michael McCallion told Philip Rahn BL, prosecuting, that the owner of Spring Valley Meats based in the industrial estate in Coolock had previously subletted part of his premises to a man in October 2016.

Det Gda McCallion said that on the date in September 2019, the business owner was at his premises in the industrial estate when Redmond and another man arrived in a van.

Redmond told the business owner that he owed his godfather, the former tenant, €58,000 and was there to collect. He said he knew where the man lived and he would go there in a few hours to collect the money.

The business owner later received a phone call from Redmond who told him his “gaff” would be burnt down with his “mot” inside it. He called the victim three more times, but the victim did not answer.

Redmond sent a text saying that he had tried to do things “the easy way”, that the victim owed his godfather and that if he wanted to know who he was dealing with he should “check the last six Sunday Worlds”.

Gardaí identified Redmond from CCTV and he voluntarily attended for an interview. During the interview he accepted he was at the scene about a “debt”, but did not accept that there were threats made.

Mr Rahn told the court the former tenant was Redmond's godfather in the Catholic sense “rather than the Al Pacino sense”. He told the court that the victim's position is that no “debt” was owed.

Det Gda McCallion agreed with Michael O'Higgins SC, defending, that his client would be known to gardaí as having a drug problem. He agreed the accused is remorseful.

The detective agreed that Redmond had been asked by his godfather to go down and demand the money. He agreed it was fair to say that the accused was in “an awkward position” by view of his connection to this man.

Mr O'Higgins said that when his client was aged 10 his father was jailed and his mother left the family home, leaving him to be raised by his older sister. He said his client had a good work history prior to developing an issue with drugs aged 18.

Counsel said his client was not standing to be the beneficiary and was not “the brains” behind any attempted extortion. He said his client has two children.

Judge Martin Nolan said it was “very serious” what the accused had done. He noted that he had pleaded guilty, made admissions and was remorseful.

Judge Nolan sentenced Redmond to four-and-a-half years imprisonment.

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