A man who purchased two vehicles that were then used in an arson attack on the house of “a person of some notoriety” has been given a three-year sentence with the final 18 months suspended.
Joseph Richards (30) later told gardaí he had not been aware the cars would be used for arson, saying he had not asked what they would be used for and that he just wanted the money for purchasing them.
Richards of Lanesborough Square, Finglas, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of money laundering within the state on dates between August 6th, 2020, and August 12th, 2020.
He has 83 previous convictions, including convictions for robbery, possession of drugs for sale or supply, production of an article in the course of a dispute and road traffic offences.
Passing sentence on Friday, Judge Melanie Greally said he was a cog in an enterprise which was engineered by much more sinister forces. She said, although he was essentially an “errand person” the role he played was important and done for financial gain, albeit small.
The judge said it appears that when he abstains from drugs he is capable of living a prosocial life and is doing well in prison. She noted the root of his offending lay in his drug addiction and his need to finance it, but he was highly motivated to overcome it.
Judge Greally sentenced Richards to three years with the final 18 months suspended on strict conditions.
Detective Garda Chris O'Sullivan told Rónán Prendergast BL, prosecuting, that there was a larger investigation into an arson incident on August 12th, 2020, on a property in possession of the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB).
Det Gda O'Sullivan said that through analysis of mobile phones and CCTV footage, gardaí were able to identify Richards as being a suspect who had purchased two cars used during the arson.
In interview with gardaí, Richards maintained he did not think the cars would be used for arson, telling gardaí he bought the cars and “you hardly think I bought the cars and did it myself”.
Det Gda O'Sullivan agreed with Pieter Le Vert BL, defending, that prior to the house being seized by CAB, it belonged to “a person of some notoriety”. He agreed that one of the cars purchased by his client was driven into the house and set alight.
The detective agreed with counsel that his client told gardaí he had been instructed to purchase the cars and falsely register them. He agreed Richards told gardaí he did not ask what they were for and that he just wanted the money.
Mr Le Vert said his client previously had a job in an engineering company, but in 2018 he lost both his mother and grandmother which had a profound effect on him. He said his client went back to using drugs, including crack cocaine and heroin.
Counsel said his client lost his job, lost contact with his children and became involved in this matter and other matters. He said his client is now entirely drug free in custody.