COURT

Tipperary town robbery suspended jail term is activated following further conviction

140 previous convictions

Tipperary town robbery suspended jail term is activated following further conviction

Clonmel courthouse

A 35 year-old man convicted of attempting to rob a Tipperary Town service station six years ago has been sentenced at Clonmel Circuit Criminal Court to serve one more year in prison for the crime.

Judge Tom Teehan activated one year of the three years suspended portion of the jail term Joe Lewis received for the attempted robbery of Pierce's Service Station of Limerick Road,  Tipperary when the case was re-entered during the latest session of Clonmel Circuit Criminal Court. 

He did so because Lewis from 62 Strand Palace Apartments, Youghal was convicted in March, 2017 of a violent disorder offence, which happened during the three years suspended sentence he received for the Tippeary Town attempted robbery. 

Prosecuting barrister Cephas Power BL told the court Lewis was sentenced at Clonmel Circuit Court in November, 2012 to six years imprisonment with the final three years suspended for the Tipperary Town attempted robbery.

 He was placed under a bond to keep the peace for six years from his release from prison. Lewis, however, received an 18 month jail sentence in March 2017 for violent disorder, the final nine months of which were suspended for two years.

 He committed that offence in September, 2015. An application was made at Clonmel Circuit Court on February 9 last to re-enter the case to seek the revocation of the suspended three years of the six year term he received in 2012. 

Sgt. Viv Downey of Tipperary Town Garda Station recounted that a member of staff at Pierce's Service Station saw two young girls come into the store on June 2, 2012. One of the girls started crying and told the staff members there was a person in a car outside wearing a balaclava and she was afraid to leave the store. The staff member phoned the gardai. Gardai arrived within a few minutes and approached the occupants of the car parked opposite the filling station. One of them was Joe Lewis and he had a hatchet. The gardai instructed him to desist. Lewis placed the axe on the roof of the car. The gardai blocked off the area preventing Lewis and his accomplice from leaving. They were arrested and when the case came before the court, Lewis pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and possession of an axe. 

Sgt. Downey outlined that Lewis had 140 previous convictions and 23 of these were recorded since he was released from prison for this attempted robbery in August, 2014. The 23 convictions included 14 minor road traffic offences, two for dangerous driving, six no insurance offences and one conviction for violent disorder. His other previous convictions ranged from arson, assault and burglary to possession of weapons.  

Lewis' defence barrister said the violent disorder offence arose from a dispute with neighbours and his client pleaded guilty. The judge who dealt with this case was satisfied matters had calmed down between the parties and that was the case. The fact the rest of his recent convictions were road traffic offences suggested Lewis' more extreme behaviour was behind him.    

The barrister appealed to Judge Teehan to deal with this re-entry case in a lenient fashion. He pointed out that when Lewis was convicted of the violent disorder offence a period of 13 months passed before the attempted robbery case was re-entered to the court. If the court had dealt with the re-entry of the case more quickly, his client would have dealt with a considerable portion of the court's decision by this stage. 

 He said Lewis had tried to reform and bought and sold cars for a living. He was very involved in his three children's lives and his daughter was making her First Holy Communion in March. 

Judge Teehan said Lewis had an appalling record and many of the crimes he committed were very serious. He took into account the fact that most of the 23 offences he committed since his release from prison in 2014 were road traffic matters but the violent disorder offence was relatively serious. 

Taking into consideration the delay in bringing the re-entry of the attempted robbery sentencing to the court, Judge Teehan directed that one of the three years of the suspended sentence be activitated and the remaining two years be suspended. 

He backdated the commencement of the sentence to November 13 when Lewis was placed in custody. He also directed that Lewis stay away from Tipperary Town during the period of the two years suspended sentence.