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Sunday 4 December 2016

Man facing trial after off-duty garda foils alleged bid to rob pharmacy

Jason Halpin is accused of attempted robbery. Photo: Irish Independent
Jason Halpin is accused of attempted robbery. Photo: Irish Independent

A Dublin man who was allegedly foiled in his attempt to rob a pharmacy by an off-duty sergeant has been sent forward for trial.

Jason Halpin (43) was allegedly confronted by the off-duty officer who tackled him to the ground.

The accused is also alleged to have been found with a kitchen knife after the officer intervened.

Mr Halpin was served with the book of evidence when he appeared on bail before Blanchardstown District Court this week.

The accused, with an address at Corduff Road in Blanchardstown, is charged with attempted robbery.

The attempted robbery allegedly took place at Lloyd's Pharmacy, Castleknock Shopping Centre, on March 9.

He is also accused of the unlawful possession of a sharply-pointed kitchen knife in the same incident.

The DPP previously directed trial on indictment in the circuit court in relation to the allegations, which has greater sentencing powers than in the district court.

Evidence

A State solicitor said the book of evidence was ready and had been served on Mr Halpin, who goes forward to the next sittings of Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Judge David McHugh gave Mr Halpin the formal alibi caution. The judge also assigned defence solicitor John O'Doherty and one junior counsel on free legal aid.

Given the seriousness of the charges, Mr O'Doherty applied for a senior counsel.

However, Judge McHugh refused to grant the request, saying the solicitor could make that application before the circuit court.

In relation to the charges against Mr Halpin, Garda Adrian Kildea previously alleged that Mr Halpin was observed by an off-duty garda while approaching the pharmacy and acting in a "very suspicious manner".

Gda Kildea claimed the sergeant contacted the local garda station when he saw the accused man running into the pharmacy. He followed him into the premises and he saw Mr Halpin grab a woman and push her behind the counter, Gda Kildea had alleged.

The court previously heard that Mr Halpin was confronted by the off-duty officer and he was restrained on the ground.

"He was in the process of carrying out a robbery," Gda Kildea alleged.

"He was found in possession of a sharply pointed knife - a kitchen knife with a black handle."

Mr Halpin has not yet indicated a plea to the charges.

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