Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Sonya McLean

A teenager who attacked and robbed a taxi driver outside a garda station have been given a two-year suspended sentence.

Andrew Hillick (20) and his co-accused Michael Matthews (20) broke the glass partition inside the taxi in order to attack the driver, punching him in the head and kicking him in the ribs.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that the teenagers stole cash and a mobile phone from the taxi driver, who sustained a broken nose during the robbery.

Hillick, of Greenhills Court, Tallaght, and Matthews, of Abbey Park Green, Clane, Co Kildare, both pleaded guilty to assault causing harm and robbery at Belgard Road, Tallaght, on November 17th, 2020. Both men have no previous convictions.

At a previous sentencing hearing, Judge Orla Crowe said both accused have encountered “a significant amount of adversity in their very young lives”. She said they subjected the driver to “an awful experience”.

Sentencing Hillick on Wednesday Judge Crowe said “the taxi driver was only doing his job and was subjected to a horrible attack”.

She described it as “a vicious attack on a blameless member of society by a very young man under the influence of an intoxicant”.

Probation services

Judge Crowe noted that Hillick has “done nothing to address his drug use” and said that is “of deep concern”.

She noted from a report from the Probation Service that they believe they can work with Hillick before she suspended a two-year term in full on condition that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour for four years.

Judge Crowe ordered that Hillick engage with the Probation Service for two years, attend all appointments and any treatments recommended to him, including a mental health service for a full review of his mental health.

Matthews was previously handed down a two-year suspended sentence last July.

Attack

At the previous hearing, Garda Edward Curley told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that in the early hours of the morning on the date in question, the then 31-year-old taxi driver was on his way home when he decided to pick up the two teenagers after receiving a notification from the Free Now app.

Gda Curley said the taxi driver drove them to the Glenshane area of Tallaght, but was then told to drive to the main square. He did so, but was told that they would need to get money from an ATM.

When they arrived at an ATM, one of the teenagers got out of the car and attempted to open the locked driver door. The driver felt threatened and after the teenager returned to the car, he made the decision to drive towards a nearby garda station.

Hillick and Matthews began banging on the glass partition in the taxi, hitting it so aggressively that they broke it in seconds. They began hitting the driver to the face and head as he stopped outside the garda station.

The driver felt something hit him on the head and saw blood on his shirt. His door opened and both accused began punching and kicking him in the ribs while screaming at him to get out of the car.

He felt something like a blade cutting him as the assault continued and his glasses were damaged. He handed over €60 in cash and his phone to the two teenagers before they fled the scene.

The driver used his car’s horn to get the attention of gardaí inside the station. Both accused were arrested nearby shortly thereafter, with Matthews in possession of a broken bottle upon his arrest.

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