“Under pressure” armed raider can’t make €12,000 bail

The man who allegedly stole €50,000 with a toy gun from a cash in transit employee making a delivery to an Athlone sub-post office last week was remanded in custody for another four weeks after he was unable to stump up €12,000 for bail.

John Harris (45 ), with addresses at Beechmount Avenue, Kilcoursey, Clara, Co Offaly and Stonebridge Apartments, Finglas, Co Dublin was appearing in front of Judge John Neilan in the District Court this week (September 23 ) seeking release on bail, but had his application opposed by gardai for a second consecutive time.

Detective Sergeant Eamon Curley told the judge Gardai would be objecting to Harris’s release on account of the “seriousness” of the alleged firearm and theft charges, which carry maximum penalties of 14 years and life respectively.

“The defendant may also be a flight risk as he is originally from the United Kingdom,” said DS Curley.

“Also, when arrested he told gardai that if he made it to Dublin he would have gone to Belfast.”

He added that when arrested, Harris “made a full admission and co-operated fully”.

At his last appearance, the court heard how Harris was arrested in his own Transit van in Clonard, Co Meath after a 20 minute chase up the M6 last Wednesday (September16 ).

Defending solicitor, Mr Padraig Quinn, told the court his client had lived in the State for 13 years and has a 10 year old child with his partner in Finglas.

In reply to Mr Quinn’s question as to whether the weapon in the alleged crime was “a toy gun”, DS Curley admitted it was “an imitation”.

In his own evidence, Harris admitted he had Irish and UK passports but that both were out of date, and that he has a mortgage on the address in Clara for five years now.

When Superintendent Aidan Glacken for the State asked Harris why he hadn’t stopped his vehicle during the pursuit he said: “I was under a bit of pressure that day”.

He told the court he was an unemployed construction worker and had €5,000 in court from his mother in the UK to act as a surety.

Judge Neilan set Harris’s bail at €2,000, with an independent surety of €10,000, which he ordered must come from an Irish bank account which had been in operation for longer than 12 months and that both these figures must be at least half cash.

His other bail conditions were that Harris must reside at his partner’s address in Finglas and that he give Superintendent Glacken 24 hours notice of the name and address of any independent surety.

He must also sign on daily at Finglas Garda tation, observe a 6pm to 8am curfew and stay out of all licenced premises in the State.

Unable to provide all of this on his day in court, Harris consented to a four week remand in Cloverhill prison, before his next court appearance on October 21 there.

Superintendent Glacken told the judge he “didn’t anticipate” the Book of Evidence would be prepared by that date

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