Man already served five years for helping cash-van raiders

By Jessica Magee

A man who served five years in prison for helping cash-van raiders escape and for possessing €70,000 of cocaine has received a suspended sentence for burglary and trespass.

Shortly after his release from jail in 2015, Liam Black (46) called around to his ex-partner’s home screaming obscenities, smashing windows and waving a golf club in an “extremely dangerous and menacing fashion,” a court has heard.

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On Friday, at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Melanie Greally said that although Black had directed extremely frightening aggression towards his ex, there had been a “considerable sea-change in his outlook and conduct since, which should be nurtured and encouraged”.

She sentenced him to three years fully suspended, saying it would not be in the interests of the community to send Black back to prison. She added that there did not appear to have been any lasting consequences for the injured party.

Black, of Áras na Cluaine, Clondalkin, pleaded guilty to trespass and theft at The Griffiths, Prospect Hill, on December 6, 2015.

Judge Greally said Black had not come to adverse garda attention since 2015 and that a very favourable probation report showed he has addressed his drug addictions and was now caring for his son and his niece.

“He is very far down the road of rehabilitation,” said the judge.

Seamus Clarke SC, defending, asked the court for leniency and said Black had recently suffered the tragic deaths of both his brother and sister in the same week.

The court heard that in 2010, Black had received a seven-year sentence with the final two years suspended and that the burglary had been carried out in the early stages of the suspended part of his sentence.

Black had pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine for sale or supply at his former home on St Attracta Rd, Cabra on November 11, 2009.

He had further admitted impeding the apprehension of a person who had committed a robbery, on the same date.

At previous hearings, the court heard that two men had stolen €32,500 at gunpoint from a Securicor van and were seen escaping in a van registered to Black.

They had been armed with a sawn-off shotgun and fired a shot before they made their escape.

Black was later found outside his home, in the back of his van, painting the floor of the van black.

Gardai asked to search his house and during the search a garda helicopter spotted a man come out of the house and go into the neighbour’s garden. Gardai then searched the neighbour’s house where they found a kilo of cocaine worth €70,000.

Defence counsel at the time, Sean Gillane SC, said Black had allowed the raiders to use his van and that gardai had caught him trying to erase the evidence.

Black had five previous convictions, including two for theft and one for robbery.

At his earlier sentencing, Judge Yvonne Murphy said he was a drug addict at the time but was a good father to his children and his partner’s children.

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