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Man who was charged over gunpoint robbery near Guinness Storehouse is denied bail

Paul Heaney handed himself in to gardaí following the incident.

File photo. Courtroom.
File photo. Courtroom.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews.ie

A 35-YEAR-OLD man has been refused bail after an Italian teacher and one of her students was held up at gunpoint outside the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.

Silvia Pantoni and one of her students had been at Long’s Place, Dublin 8, near the Guinness Storehouse, on Monday evening when they were mugged.

They were approached by two men. One was armed with a gun or possible imitation firearm.

A court heard today that accused man Paul Heaney, with an address at Michael Malin House, Dublin 8, burned his clothes afterwards because he feared they would bring bad luck.

He is the only person to come before the courts in connection with the incident.

He was charged with attempted robbery and robbery after he handed himself in.

Garda Stephen Duggan told the Dublin District Court that Heaney replied, “I did not rob anyone” to one charge, and made no reply to the second count. He was charged yesterday evening.

The garda strenuously objected to bail due to the seriousness of the case.

He told the court it was alleged a large group of Italian tourists has been walking along Long’s Place toward a Luas stop after exiting the Guinness Storehouse.

The teacher and a student were at the rear of the group and were approached by two men. He said one of them was armed with a firearm, or an imitation firearm.

He pointed in the direction of the student who handed over €60 in cash, Garda Duggan said. It was alleged the males demanded money from the teacher who stated she had none and “out of fear for her safety offered her mobile phone”.

The court heard the two males then ran away after another member of the tourists’ group came over to them.

The accused went voluntarily to Kevin Street Garda and stated he was there about the incident with the gun, and he said, “It is not my style”.

Garda Duggan said the incident was captured on high-definition CCTV and the accused claimed he was not the male with the firearm.

The court heard Heaney told gardaí he burned his clothes afterwards.

Garda Duggan agreed with defence solicitor Ruth Walsh that it was not the prosecution case that her client had the gun. It was accepted that he had presented himself to the garda station where he was interviewed three times.

He also acknowledged that the accused was not alleged to have been the main antagonist.

Walsh put it to the garda that her client “got in over his head” and had not intended to get involved. The garda agreed he had destroyed the clothing he wore because he was “afraid they would give him bad luck, and he wanted to destroy the evidence”.

Judge Ann Ryan heard the case could go forward to the circuit court.

Walsh said the case would be contested and her client could spend a lengthy period in custody before the trial is reached.

Pleading for bail, she said Heaney, who is unemployed, had mental health issues and also cared for his elderly mother. He had gone to the garda station and they did not have to look for him, she submitted.

Walsh said Heaney, who did not address the court, would abide by strict bail conditions.

However, Judge Ryan refused bail and remanded him in custody to appear at Cloverhill District Court on 30 October next. Legal aid was granted.

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Tom Tuite

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