Violent robbery saw man attacked with hammer and litter picker

Galway Daily courts

A young man received a four and a half year prison sentence for his part in a violent robbery where a group of youths attacked a man.

Husley Falcao, with an address at Clybaun Road, Knocknacarra, pleaded guilty to a single count of robbery at Galway Circuit Court.

The young man, who is 19 now but was 17 at the time of the offence, was one of a group of five or six youths who attacked and robbed Shane Diskin in Knocknacarra last year.

Detective John Horkin told the court that on August 19 of 2018, the injured party was finishing up his shift as a caretaker at Gateway Retail Park in Knocknacarra at around 8:30pm.

He saw a group of young people in the rear laneway of the retail park, and they then followed him into the rear yard and attacked him.

He was assaulted and knocked to the ground, and the group then attacked him with a hammer and litter picker which he had on him as work tools, and stole his phone.

After the group of youths left him on the ground, he eventually managed to get to his feet and go to the nearby Dunnes Stores, where he got help, and was brought to hospital.

During the attack he suffered injuries including cuts and bruises to his left eye, forehead, the left side of his face, his nose, defensive injuries to his arms, and a significant scalp wound.

Gardaí viewed CCTV footage from the area, and were able to identify Falcao attacking the injured party on the video, and several other members of the groups were also identified by Gardaí.

Falcao was arrested on August 22, and admitted to being involved in the attack and robbery as part of the group, hitting the injured man with the litter picker.

Three other people identified as part of this group were dealt with by way of the Juvenile Liaison Programme, but Mr Falcao was ineligible due to his prior convictions, which include five other counts of robbery.

Defence Barrister Mr Conall MacCarthy noted that while his client was pleading to robbery, there was no charge of assault on the indictment.

Mr Diskin wrote a Victim Impact Statement on how this event had affected, which was read to the court by Detective Horkin.

“After this attack, and to this day, I’m afraid to go to Knocknacarra because I’m afraid I’ll be attacked,” he said.

He spent three months on medical leave from work, and just before he was due to return to work, he was informed he had been let go.

He attended therapy the following year at the insistence of his friends and family, who were concerned for his wellbeing, and suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts.

The incident still affects him to this day, he said, noting “I feel unsafe if I see a large group, or if I’m walking alone at night.”

Mr MacCarthy said that his client has suffered from alcohol and drugs problems, and was a “menace” to himself and others during a “chaotic” year of his life.

He is currently serving a prison sentence on those offences which is expected to conclude in June 2021.

The other five robberies, which were dealt with at the District Court, happened in one “sequence of events” over a single night he added.

Despite a troubled background, Mr Falcao has the potential to make a positive contribution to society, Mr MacCarthy said, and his time in prison has given him time to reflect.

Judge Francis Comerford said that this was a very serious crime, but that the prospect of rehabilitation is an important consideration due to the age of Mr Falcao.

What was stolen during the robbery wasn’t as serious as the violence employed during it, Judge Comerford said, adding that the clear premeditation was also an aggravating factor.

However the judge noted that it cannot be definitively stated what injuries were specifically caused by the defendant in this attack.

He imposed a four and half year prison sentence, backdated to June 10 of this year when Falcao went into custody, and suspended the final year of the sentence.