Robber who raided Dublin shop with samurai sword avoids jail

A robber, whose accomplice smashed the windscreen of an off-duty garda car’s with a samurai sword, has avoided a jail term at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Detective Garda Shane Kelly saw the raiders flee from the scene and chased them in his personal car. When he cornered their vehicle near Lucan one of the raiders used the sword to smash the detective’s windscreen.

Barry Delappe (41) of Harcourt Street pleaded guilty to robbery and possession of a sword at the Gala Shop, Newcastle, Dublin on November 20, 2011.

Today he received a three-year suspended sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. His co-accused, who attacked the garda, was previously sentenced to 20 months.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring had adjourned the case having heard evidence last April to see if Delappe would be a suitable candidate for restorative justice.

She noted that while the programme is happy to work with Delappe, the staff member in the Gala Shop, was not interested in engaging with it.

“I totally understand why he would not wish to engage,” Judge Ring said before noting that the Probation Service are also willing to continue working with Delappe considering the progress he has made to date.

She sentenced him to three years in prison which she suspended in full on condition that he continues to engage with the Probation Service for 12 months and follow their directions in relation to drug rehabilitation and the Restorative Justice Programme.

At Delappe’s sentencing hearing last April, the court heard that he entered the shop while swinging the sword and demanding money and cigarettes.

He took €400 from the till and some cigarettes. As he was leaving he told the shop owner that he would return if he called the gardaí. He then got into a waiting car which sped off.

Det. Gda Kelly was off-duty when he spotted the robbers and gave chase in his own car. During the pursuit, the raider’s vehicle broke a stop sign and crashed into a telephone pole before driving off again.

The detective continued to follow them. The raiders stopped the car near Lucan where Delappe’s co-accused got out and walked towards Det Gda Kelly’s car armed with the sword.

The detective shout "stop, gardaí" while trying to reverse but the man managed to smash his windscreen using the sword. They again fled in the car which was found abandoned nearby.

Delappe was arrested shortly afterwards on Harcourt Street. He was on heroin at the time and said he did not remember much of the day. In interview he made admissions and expressed remorse.

The shop owner submitted a victim impact report stating the experience was very stressful and he is now nervous about working there. He has also had to install an expensive new security system.

Delappe claimed someone had approached him earlier in the day about committing a robbery. He said the sword belonged to this person.

Defence counsel Dean Kelly BL submitted that there is “more good than bad” about his client.

He said Delappe has acted as carer to his son who has a serious illness and that he is now addressing his heroin addiction.

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