A Mullingar man with 71 previous convictions, who demanded cash from a frightened man, has been jailed for four months.
Judge Seamus Hughes said he wanted to drive home to Michael Dinnegan (48 ) of St Joseph’s Cottages that a life of crime doesn’t pay.
The judge said he’d heard of similar crimes, usually involving schoolboys who ask someone for cash at an ATM or ask for a mobile phone, but he’d never heard of a man Dinnegan’s age having another man under his control for up to twenty minutes.
“He was obviously very fearful of you and the fact that he knew you perhaps made him realize what your potential is,” the judge said.
“I want to drive home to you that a life of crime doesn’t pay,” he said, adding that Dinnegan has to learn a lesson.
He refused to suspend the prison sentence in spite of Dinnegan’s protestations that he would never do anything like this again or that he’d repaid the money he took from the man and more.
Inspector Folan said Dinnegan can be intimidating when he’s intoxicated and he had no doubt he was on this occasion.
The victim was so agitated when he went to Mullingar Garda Station immediately after the incident, that he was shaking and on the verge of tears.
He told gardaí he felt obliged to hand over cash, to buy alcohol in a supermarket and to empty his account at an ATM because he thought Dinnegan was threatening his son.
Michael Dinnegan had pleaded guilty to demanding money with menaces, after he asked his victim if he valued his child more than his money.
He also said he was part of an unnamed organization.
Judge Seamus Hughes described it as a case of daylight robbery and a very serious offence.
Solicitor Louis Kiernan said it was a bullying act and asked for leniency for his client, but Judge Hughes didn’t agree and jailed him for demanding money with menaces.