Brion Hoban and Declan Brennan
A previously law-abiding young man who turned to crime after getting addicted to crack and heroin has been jailed for robbery and for holding nearly €30,000 worth of drugs.
Lawyers for Jacob Breaw (24) told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that in an 18-month-period, Breaw went from being a healthy young man to a drug addict committing crimes to feed his habit.
In May 2019, he was caught holding over €29,000 of cannabis in a school bag in his mother's bedroom during a search of his Dublin home by gardaí. He had not been charged with this when the following November he carried out a street robbery while armed with a knife.
Breaw of Esker Lodge, Lucan, pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis for sale or supply at his address on May 3rd, 2019. He also pleaded guilty to robbery at Cherbury Park, Lucan, on November 30th, 2019.
He has four previous convictions, including for possession of knives and public order offences.
'Law-abiding and conventional life'
Sentencing him on Wednesday, Judge Melanie Greally said that up to the age of 21, Breaw had lived a law-abiding and conventional life.
Judge Greally said at that point he left a pro-social circle of friends and became involved with a negative group who were engaged with taking drugs and committing crimes to fund this.
She noted that in a letter to the court he has expressed a commitment to returning to a life free of drugs and criminality. He also expressed remorse to the robbery victim and has recognised the seriousness of his actions.
The judge said she was taking into consideration the fact that he has addressed his drug addiction while in custody, his remorse and the continuing support from his family who are hard-working and respectable people.
Judge Greally suspended the final two years of a five-and-a-half year prison sentence on condition that he keep the peace for that period and engage with the Probation Service.
Garda Eoin O'Flaherty told Lisa Dempsey BL, prosecuting, that on the date in question, he and a number of other gardaí went to the accused's address on foot of a search warrant.
Garda O'Flaherty said that during the search, a school bag containing cannabis was located in the bedroom of the accused's mother. Breaw immediately took responsibility for the drugs at the scene.
The total estimated street value of the drugs was €29,312.
Seán O’Quigley BL, defending, told the court that his client was previously a healthy young man, but that at around the age of 21 he began using drugs recreationally, became addicted and dropped out of college.
He said his client knows now that a series of poor decisions have ruined his life and caused pain to his family and victims of his offending.
Garda O'Flaherty agreed with counsel that Breaw owed money due to his drug taking. The court heard that his mother has had to pay €900 in drug debts.
Garda Olivia Connolly told Ms Dempsey that the robbery victim was walking back into his estate in Lucan when Breaw grabbed at his shoulder and removed his open jacket.
Garda Connolly said the victim saw that Breaw had a knife and went back to his home, leaving the accused holding his jacket. The victim and his brother returned shortly thereafter and confronted Breaw.
An altercation ensued, which came to an end when the victim's mother pulled her son away from the accused. Breaw then got up from the ground and ran away.
The victim's mother found her son's jacket and the accused's passport at a nearby green area. Both the victim and his brother sustained injuries during the altercation and reported the matter to gardaí.