A man who took part in a violent robbery during which two escorts were attacked in their apartment and one was left wrapped in a rug has been jailed for ten years.
ojciech Kazmierczak (43) choked one of the women until she was unconscious during a robbery in which the other woman was also rendered unconscious and had her hands bound by duct tape.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that upon his arrest by gardaí a month later following a surveillance operation, Kazmierczak was found in possession of just under €400,000 of cannabis.
Kazmierczak of The Oaks, Merrymeeting, Rathnew, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm and two counts of robbery at Corn Exchange Place, Dublin City centre, on August 24, 2020.
He also pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis for sale or supply at R772, Rathnew, Co Wicklow, on September 24, 2020.
Kazmierczak has four previous convictions, including convictions for aggravated extortion and using forged documents in Poland, and a conviction for a road traffic offence in Ireland.
Garda Fionnuala Lawlor told Antonia Boyle BL, prosecuting, that a woman working as a hairdresser in Spain found herself with no money following hairdressing being closed in March 2020 as a result of the pandemic and decided to start working as an escort again.
Gda Lawlor said this woman initially went to Paris where she joined up with a friend and both women decided to come to Ireland for a short period of time. The women booked an apartment at Corn Exchange Place and the first woman set up an advertisement on an escort website.
The first woman met with clients in the lead up to the incident and nothing untoward happened. All her clients paid in cash and she had €1,200 in her handbag and €100 in her wallet at the time of the robbery.
On the date in August 2020, she made arrangements with two men on behalf of herself and her friend. The two men, one of whom was Kazmierczak, arrived to the apartment and were allowed inside.
The first women was then grabbed around the neck by Kazmierczak, who choked her and she ultimately lost consciousness. When she awoke she was punched in the face and knocked out again, but she could not see who threw the punch.
The second woman had been grabbed and choked by the other man, eventually being knocked out following a struggle after being punched in the face. The court heard she did not see who punched her, but believed it was Kazmierczak.
When the first woman woke again, the other man grabbed her by the hair and started saying ‘money money money’. She gave him her handbag and the two men eventually left, but not before the other man took the women’s phones.
The woman then went to help her friend, who was wrapped in a rug with her wrists bound by duct tape and also had duct tape on her face and head. The women attended hospital and gardaí were contacted.
CCTV footage was obtained from outside the apartments and two suspects were identified who matched the descriptions of the robbers. These men were seen getting into a black BMW and a surveillance operation was launched.
Gda Lawlor said that upon Kazmierczak’s arrest following this operation in September 2020, a van he had been driving was searched just under €400,000 of cannabis was found. The accused man had earlier been observed collecting suitcases and a bale from an apartment block in Dublin City.
Kazmierczack told gardaí the van belonged to him and took responsibility for the cannabis, but later retracted that admission in interview.
Gda Lawlor agreed with Michael Bowman SC, defending, that his client entered early guilty pleas and this was of ‘considerable relief’ to both victims. She agreed there were no DNA matches for his client in this case.
The garda agreed with counsel that the motivation for the initial offences was robbery and there was no sexual element to the offending. She agreed there was no suggestion of the accused man having an affluent lifestyle.
Mr Bowman said his client indicates he never intended that level of violence and it simply ‘got out of hand’. He said his client apologises to the victim’s for the fear and distress caused.
Counsel said his client came to Ireland from Poland with his partner and daughter and set up a gardening business. He said his client found himself ‘financially compromised’ and ‘foolishly’ engaged in this behaviour for ‘recompense’.
Judge Melanie Greally said the assault and robbery offences were aggravated by being premeditated and the victims bring targetted by reason of their vulnerability ‘arising from their occupation at the time’.
Judge Greally said the violence used by Kazmierczak and his accomplice was ‘gratuitous and extreme’ and there were elements of false imprisonment. She said the case involved multiple victims with the offences committed at their temporary place of residence.
She said both women sustained significant facial injuries, with one of them left with a permanent scar, and both have experienced ‘considerable psychological and emotional damage’.
Judge Greally sentenced Kazmierczak to eleven years imprisonment, but suspended the final year of the sentence on strict conditions.