A NEWCASTLE West man who unknowingly bought and sold on a stolen digger has had to pay almost €20,000 in compensation to its original owner, the local court has heard.
However Maurice Lynch, aged 36, of Hawthorn Drive, Newcastle West has avoided a criminal conviction for handling stolen property after the court heard that he was “an innocent party” in the incident.
At Newcastle West Court last Thursday solicitor John Lynch, defending, said that the case dates back to 2009, after the accused purchased a digger in the United Kingdom for a total of €19,000.
The machine was “purchased innocently” and brought back to Ireland by Maurice Lynch, who later sold it on for €21,000 at his business premises Lynch’s Services Ltd at the Desmond Business Park, Newcastle West.
However, it later transpired that the digger had originally been stolen from a plant hire firm in Charleville, and was traced to Mr Lynch by Detective Garda Liam Ruttle, who was investigating the theft.
John Lynch said that his client “co-operated fully” with the gardai, and has been paying compensation to the digger’s original owner in instalments. The court heard that the final instalment of €4,000 had recently been paid.
John Lynch said that the accused had worked to make “full restitution” to the digger’s owner, and that he was “an innocent party”. The court heard that Maurice Lynch only has one prior conviction for a speeding offence.
Judge Mary Larkin, taking into account the circumstances, decided not to hand down a conviction and instead applied the terms of the Probation Act.