A burglar who fled a ransacked home with items valued at over €35,000 after being disturbed by the occupant and later assaulted a garda while being charged has been jailed for five years.
Mark Dignam (44) was one of two burglars who took items including five watches valued at €27,000. He was later identified as a suspect after a garda noticed him wearing two watches.
The court heard while being charged with the burglary at the garda station a week later he spat at a sergeant and dislocated another garda's finger while trying to free himself.
Dignam, of Meath Place, Thomas Street, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary at Lower Mount Street, Dublin, 2 on October 13th, 2020 and assaulting Garda Ian Kelly causing him harm at Pearse Street Garda Station on October 22nd, 2020.
Judge Martin Nolan noted the burglars had been in the home when the occupant came back and although there was no actual violence, certain threats were made before the men escaped.
He said the men had sold on the items and used the money to pay for drugs. He also noted the spitting and assault on the gardai. He said he accepted Dignam had a difficult upbringing and wanted to reform. Judge Nolan imposed concurrent sentences totalling five years.
Detective Garda Eoghan Kirwan told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that the homeowner reported items valued at €35,000 in total were missing, including five watches valued at €27,000, clothing and coats.
A garda later dealt with Dignam on a separate matter and noticed he was wearing two watches. He also had a sum of money. A search warrant was later sought for his residence and Dignam presented himself at Pearse street garda station the following week.
While being charged he became agitated and violent towards gardaí. He spat at a sergeant who was reading the charge to him and when other gardai went to restrain him he struck downwards on Gda Kellys fingers in an attempt to break his grip. Garda Kelly sustained a fractured and dislocated finger.
Dignam has 93 previous convictions including 21 previous for burglary.
Det Gda Kirwan agreed with Derek Cooney BL, defending, that Dignam was either under the influence or withdrawing from drugs when he assaulted the garda. He agreed Dignam would not have known the value of the goods and had got rid of it quickly for cash.
Mr Cooney said Dignam had a difficult childhood and a long-standing drug addiction, causing a chaotic lifestyle which has taken it's toll.