ROBBERY CHARGE |
Mum and son charged after drunk man was allegedly thrown from moving fake taxi
Gardai claimed the car “slowed down but was still in motion” when a male was “ejected from the moving vehicle”
Tom TuiteSunday World
Today at 18:57
A MOTHER and her teenage son have been accused of pretending to be a taxi service before robbing a man who was “ejected” from their car while it was still in motion on a Dublin 4 road.
Maria Muntean, 34, and Damit Rostas, 18, who have an address at Virginia Hall, Belgard Square, Tallaght, Dublin, were arrested in Ballsbridge just before 4 am on Friday and charged with robbery of the man of his iPhone and Revolut bank card.
They faced objections to bail due to the seriousness of the alleged offence when they appeared before Judge Gerard Jones at Dublin District Court on Saturday.
Garda Gillian Duffy told Judge Jones that she and a colleague were on mobile patrol when they observed a ‘08-reg car driving along Serpentine Avenue, Dublin 4.
She alleged it “slowed down but was still in motion” when a male was “ejected from the moving vehicle” onto the middle of the road.
The court heard he was allegedly thrown from the back seat.
The garda activated her patrol vehicle’s lights, but the car failed to pull over; she overtook it and got to stop by manoeuvring in front.
It was alleged that the mother of seven Maria Muntean was the driver, that Damit Rostas, her son, was in the back seat, and that he had allegedly pushed the injured party from the moving car.
After gardai arrested the mother and son, they were taken to Irishtown station, where they searched Damit and allegedly found the stolen property in his underpants.
Garda Duffy said Mr Rostas had approached the intoxicated complainant on Kildare Street, where he had fallen asleep against a statue.
It was the prosecution case that Mr Rostas aroused him and told him he was operating a taxi service.
However, the court heard that neither he nor his mother holds a Small Public Service Vehicle licence.
The court heard that gardai had obtained high-quality CCTV footage from Government buildings.
The contested bail hearing was told that the man got in the back seat, and the car drove toward Dublin 4.
It was alleged he requested that they stop but was told “no” and “we are a taxi; we will get you home safe.”
However, when the car reached Serpentine Avenue, he was spotted falling out but “got up and looked very stunned”.
Cross-examined by defence solicitor Sandra Frayne, she agreed that man was intoxicated, but he “sobered up fairly rapidly”.
She said CCTV footage showed him walking steadily when he was brought to the car. “He had drink taken. I wouldn’t say he was obliterated,” the garda said, later adding that he was of a very clear mind when she dealt with him.
However, she agreed that the video footage had yet to be proved in court. Father of one, Damit Rostas, did not comment when interviewed.
The solicitor said her clients denied the charges and would obey bail conditions. She submitted that the height of the prosecution case was the evidence of an intoxicated person, but the garda disagreed.
Pleading for bail, the solicitor said that unemployed Mr Rostas had a young child and lived with his partner. Ms Muntean was born in Romania but has been in Ireland for 25 years and lived at the same address as her co-defendant son, which was disputed by the garda.
Ms Frayne said Ms Muntean had been affected by the housing crisis, and her family could not secure stable accommodation.
The solicitor said she also had to care for a sick family member.
Judge Jones said they had the presumption of innocence in the case, which he regarded as serious.
He refused to grant bail to the 18-year-old and remanded him in custody but released Ms Muntean on a €100 bond with a €1,000 independent surety.
They were supported in court by close family members.
She must obey a 10 pm – 6 am curfew, notify gardai of any address change, not apply for travel documents and remain out of the Dublin 1, Dublin 2 and Dublin 4 parts of the city.
They will appear again next week.
The judge has deferred the ruling on a legal aid application.