Drink and drugs soldier smashed up cash machine
By Andrew Phelan
Thursday December 09 2010
A YOUNG soldier had taken a combination of alcohol and antidepressants when he trashed a bank ATM, a court heard.
Damien Byrne (20) was arrested after he was caught smashing up the bank machine in north Dublin.
He was ordered to pay compensation to AIB and told he would avoid a conviction if he did this, after a court heard he had a good army record and no previous convictions.
Byrne, of Cathal Brugha Barracks, Rathmines, pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court to causing criminal damage to the ATM in Fairview.
The prosecuting garda told the court he was called to the ATM, which had been "smashed up" on May 20, 2010.
The accused was arrested and taken to Clontarf Garda Station.
When it was put to him that he had caused the damage, he admitted he might have smashed the machine but was on medication and did not know what he was doing. The value of the damage was €400.
Byrne had been in the army for two years, having joined in September 2008.
The court heard the accused had had a difficult teen life, had become estranged from his family five years ago and spent some time living on the streets.
His life had become more settled since and he had a very good record in the army.
He had been in therapy for extreme anxiety disorder and had been prescribed anti-depressants and sleeping tablets.
On the night, he had been drinking as well and his behaviour was out of character.
"I would ask you to consider seeking a probation report," his lawyer told Judge Catherine Staines. "He is a person of good character and is more than willing to engage with the probation service."
The judge adjourned the case to next year for a probation report and said she would leave him without a conviction if this report was positive and if he paid compensation to the bank for the damage.
– Andrew Phelan