Former Dublin pitcher who robbed post office wins conviction appeal
A former heroin addict and heroin addict from County Dublin has won his appeal for the terms of a three-year prison sentence for theft from a post office in Co Longford to be changed.
The Court of Appeal accepted a request from Alan Coyne (46) of Ballinaree Cottage, Edgeworthsown, Co Longford, to extend the time frame for him to pay compensation to his victims.
Coyne was sentenced to five years in prison with the last two years suspended in Longford Circuit Criminal Court in May 2020 after pleading guilty to the theft of the post office in Ardagh, County Longford on October 16 2019 and three related charges.
The appellant stole cash worth € 13,238 from An Post after threatening an employee as well as a customer and a delivery man with a small knife before leaving in the customer’s car after the call. forcing them to hand over their car keys.
Coyne was apprehended after crashing into the vehicle shortly after being ordered to stop by a guard in a patrol car.
Sentencing judge Judge Keenan Johnson suspended part of Coyne’s sentence on several conditions, including that he attend a residential drug treatment course within 18 months of being released from prison and pay € 4,000 to each of his two victims within two years of his release, with € 2,000 to be paid to each within the first 12 months.
Coyne’s attorney John Shortt SC claimed there was no problem with the severity of the sentence, but the two conditions created undue hardship as there was an unrealistic prospect that their client could amass 8 € 000 in compensation at a time when he had to undertake a residential rehabilitation course which would not allow him to take up gainful employment.
The Court of Appeal heard that the course was to last 20 weeks.
Judge George Birmingham, presiding with Judge Patrick McCarthy and Judge Isobel Kennedy, said it was perhaps “ambitious and unrealistic” to expect Coyne to be able to pay € 4,000 in compensation over the course of the first year of his release, while also being required. enter a drug treatment program.
The court agreed to change the conditions to allow the payment of € 2,000 to each of his victims during the first two years of his release, with the remainder to be paid within 12 months.
Judge Birmingham also observed that the sentence was “considerably lenient” before later adding that it could be considered “remarkable leniency”.
Coyne, who played inter-county hurling for Dublin, had previously been released from his addiction for several years, but had relapsed following a relationship breakdown after his partner had a miscarriage.
He has 35 previous convictions, including 25 for robbery, dating from 1998 to 2013.
Coyne, a former member of St Brigid’s GAA Club in Castleknock, claimed he was pressured to pay off a € 1,500 drug debt when he robbed the post office.