JUDGE Eugene O’Kelly this Tuesday asked - in respect of a man with 213 previous convictions - whether his reoffending was rooted in his desire to get dental treatment behind bars.
Michael Whelan, 34, of Kylefea, Croom, pleaded guilty at Limerick District Court to the theft of a packet of razors valued at €15 from Ballinacurra Pharmacy on January 4 last.
Before sentencing the accused, Judge O’Kelly asked Whelan’s solicitor Ted McCarthy if his client was the same person who had previously abused him because a sentence he imposed “was not of sufficient length”.
Mr McCarthy said his client had on that occasion sought a longer sentence so he could qualify for dental treatment while in jail.
Judge O’Kelly asked whether this was the reason why Whelan continued to reoffend, to be assured by Mr McCarthy his client engaged in theft to feed his alcohol habit.
Whelan is currently serving a four-month sentence, imposed only two weeks ago, for a separate spate of thefts from businesses around Limerick.
These included the theft of cosmetics from Shaws and a hair straightener from Argos, both in the Crescent Shopping Centre, on December 18 last and the theft of DVDs worth €70 from HMV on Cruise’s Street the following day.
Sentencing Whelan to four months imprisonment on that date, Judge O’Kelly told him he had to change his behaviour and that he could not “just keep racking up convictions” or he would consider doubling prison sentences each time he appears in court are apply sentences consecutively.
In respect of the theft on January 4, Judge O’Kelly imposed a one-month prison sentence.
Whelan had previously appealed to another District Court judge to impose a longer prison sentence.
Judge Mary O’Halloran had sentenced Whelan to a total of four months in prison at Rathkeale Court in March 2010 for a plethora of theft and public order offences.
“Ms Halloran! Ms Halloran! I want 12 months,” Whelan had shouted at the judge on that date before he had to be restrained by gardai and removed from the courtroom.