TWO Cork city taxi drivers were robbed at knifepoint on Sunday night, it was alleged as gardaí objected to bail being granted to a young Buttevant-based man.
Jake Sheeran was brought before Cork District Court charged with two counts of robbery.
Detective Garda Mark Durcan testified that both alleged robberies occurred on Sunday night in Cork city within just over two hours of each other – one before 10 p.m. and the other soon after midnight.
In the first incident, on October 2, it is alleged that Jake Sheeran got into a taxi at Parnell Place in Cork and asked the driver to take him to Kent Railway station for a train.
Det. Garda Durcan said the passenger first got into the front seat but that the driver asked him to go into the back seat which the passenger agreed to do.
The detective alleged that when the taxi stopped the accused got into the space between the two front seats, produced a knife and held it to the driver’s throat.
“The taxi-driver felt a sharp object on his neck and he was told, ‘Move and I will cut your throat.’ He was in complete fear and he handed over all his cash - €80,” Det. Garda Durcan said.
It was alleged that the man who carried out the robbery then got out of the car and ran down a lane leading onto Brian Ború Street.
“Two hours later it is alleged he got into a taxi on St. Patrick’s Street and got into the front seat and asked to be taken to the Gold Rush casino on MacCurtain Street.
“When the taxi reached this location the driver told him the fare was €5.60.
“It is alleged that he pulled out a knife and told the driver, ‘Empty your pockets’.
The driver handed over coins. He demanded more, saying, ‘Better give me more money or I will cut you good.’
The driver took €20 in coins from the boot of the car and gave it to him,” the detective said.
It is alleged that the defendant was found with over €50 in notes and more than €20 in coins when he was arrested.
The defendant admitted to being in the cars but disputed the allegations.
In respect of the second journey he said that he asked the driver to take him to Buttevant for free and that the driver refused but agreed to give him some cash.
Frank Buttimer, solicitor, put it to his client, Jake Sheeran, “Gardaí are concerned you will commit more offences to feed your drug addiction?”
The defendant replied, “No, I am on medication to keep me clean. I made a mistake, to be honest with you.”
Det. Garda Durcan said the accused told him after his arrest that he smoked a rock of crack cocaine on Sunday before the two alleged robberies. He also said he smoked two cannabis joints every day.
Sheeran said in evidence, “I am doing recovery meetings, doing NA. I am sorry. If given [an] opportunity to see my kids I won’t let you down, judge.”
The defendant cried in the witness box at this point.
He went on to say that his two young children are what keep him going.
Sergeant Gearóid Davis asked him, “How can we be happy you will not reoffend?”
The defendant replied, “I will stick to any conditions.”
Judge Olann Kelleher said, “They are very serious charges on the face of it – no one would dispute they are serious alleged offences. I have to take into consideration the evidence of Det. Garda Durcan.”
The judge also took into consideration evidence in relation to drug use. He refused bail and remanded Sheeran in custody for one week for directions to be obtained from the Director of Public Prosecutions.