A PHARMACIST was pushed aside by a young man who went behind the counter and demanded the anxiety drug Xanax and today he was jailed for ten months.
Killian Kavanagh pleaded guilty to a robbery charge arising out of the incident where the young woman was pushed and he also admitted two other charges of theft where again he went behind the counter of a pharmacy demanding the same drug.
The guilty pleas were entered by the accused after the Director of Public Prosecutions directed that the cases could be dealt with at Cork District Court but only on a plea of guilty and that otherwise they would proceed to trial by judge and jury.
Judge Olann Kelleher said, “It must have been a frightening experience to have the demand made to hand over tablets and, in the case of one woman, to be pushed aside.” The judge acknowledged that the accused had difficulties in his past and also had psychiatric issues.
However, he said, “Society must be protected from someone taking the law into his own hands.
“There is a sad background and this man suffered from addiction but the court has to balance the rights of the accused to help and the protection of society – people being put in fear in the workplace.” Eddie Burke, solicitor, accepted that the most serious offence was the one at Phelan’s pharmacy on Patrick Street where the member of staff was pushed and the other two pharmacy offences.
Mr Burke said that one of the pharmacists acknowledged in her statement to gardaí that the accused was just out of psychiatric care and that she said to him on the day, “I know you don’t mean any harm.” Mr Burke said the 24-year-old was from Cloyne originally and that his difficulties got so bad that he made a number of attempts on his own life.
Kavanagh of no fixed address pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary and one of robbery arising out of the three incidents.
Sergeant John Kelleher said that on September 14 2019 Killian Kavanagh entered Phelan’s pharmacy on St. Patrick Street and asked a pharmacist if he could dispense a prescription even though he did not have it with him. No medication was dispensed and he left the premises.
“But he came back and went behind the counter and demanded Xanax. The staff member agreed to give him one Xanax tablet if he agreed to leave and he did leave the store.
“On December 19 2019 he went behind the counter at the South Terrace Pharmacy and was confronted by a staff member. He said, ‘Give me all the Xanax’. He was ushered from behind the counter and he left.
“On January 2 2020 he went to Phelan’s on St. Patrick Street and attempted to go the rear (to an area not open to the public). He shoved a staff member out of the way and demanded Xanax. The pharmacist was in fear and gave him two Xanax tablets for him to leave. The pharmacist suffered no injury,” Sgt. Kelleher said.