A BACK SEAT passenger who pulled a rope round a taxi driver's throat as he was robbed at knifepoint by his accomplice in the front has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Brendan Boylan (34) claimed he was put under pressure to take part in the robbery to repay a drug debt and was in fear of "getting a bullet or a blade".
Boylan, of Bangor Road, Crumlin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the robbery of €600 from a taxi driver at Ballymount Road on January 22, 2012. He has 16 previous convictions.
Judge Martin Nolan said that given Boylan's age he would not involve The Probation Service and he would have to "sink or swim" on his own.
Gda Damien Quirke told Diarmuid Collins BL, prosecuting, that the driver picked up two men and took them to Bally- mount Road where he pulled in. The back seat passenger put a rope around his neck and the front seat passenger demanded money.
The driver saw a large kitchen knife in the front seat passenger's hand and felt the rope pulled tightly around his neck.
He handed over €600 before the men fled in different directions. The man with the knife cut the driver's radio machinery before leaving.
The driver chased one of the men but lost him. As he drove around later, he saw gardai had stopped the back seat passenger and he was able to identify him.
Boylan admitted holding the rope and told gardai the offence was to go some way to clearing a drug debt. He said he was afraid he would get a "bullet or a blade" if he did not take part.
Boylan's father told Seoirse O'Dunlaing BL, defending, that the death of two family members had a bad effect on his son and he had "gone off the rails".
He said he could live with him on his release and he would try to get him employment.
Mr O'Dunlaing said Boylan had an addiction for many years and had made efforts to deal with it. He said he had €500 available for the taxi driver. He asked the court to take into account this was a man operating under a drug debt.