Limerick judge puts Prison Service in the dock

Judge Eugene O'Kelly

Judge Eugene O'Kelly


A JUDGE decided not to imprison a Limerick man due to the “inability of the prison service to retain this man for any length of time”.

It emerged in Limerick Court this week that Robbie Curtin, aged 21, of Lilac Court, Keyes Park, Southill received temporary release from prison just five weeks into a five-month sentence.

Judge Eugene O’Kelly asked: “What sort of message is being sent out?

Curtin pleaded guilty to two charges of driving while being disqualified; two counts of no insurance; two public order offences and one of having no driving licence.

He was stopped by Garda Niall Deegan on January 27 on Carey’s Road and Garda Patrick Melody on March 9 on the Ballysimon Road.

The judge declined to give Curtin another five month prison sentence because he said “it looks like he will be released by Halloween”.

Instead, two five month sentences suspended for two years were handed down. “Hopefully he will take advantage of it,” said Judge O’Kelly.

However, if Curtin is found guilty of a crime in the two years and the two five-month sentences are activated the judge said they will be “consecutive not concurrent”.

The court heard that Curtin had six previous convictions for no insurance with a five-month sentence imposed on July 14. “Here we are on September 1 and he is on temporary release. What sort of message does that send out? A man at that stage with six convictions - when the court’s patience runs out he gets five months on July 14. Why was he released on temporary release?” asked Judge O’Kelly.

He went on to say “no wonder people are so casual about disqualifications”.

The judge added: “He received five months but was out within four or five weeks. What lesson has he learned?” asked Judge O’Kelly.

Curtin’s solicitor, John Herbert said his client won’t be driving again and he put his hands up at the earliest opportunity. “He has a young child waiting placement in Crumlin Children’s Hospital for a heart difficulty,” said Mr Herbert.

The solicitor said Curtin went off the rails during these offences but that he had spoken to his father and Curtin was back playing soccer and things had “steadied down”.


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