No prison for serial beggar in Limerick

Jack Nicholas BL said his client was

Jack Nicholas BL said his client was "taking steps to avoid having to beg again. He has applied for social welfare."

  • by David Hurley

A ROMANIAN national who was sentenced to two months imprisonment for public order offences successfully appealed the 
activation of a suspended prison sentence.

Vasile Muntean, aged 20, with an address at Willow Park, Athlone, County Westmeath received the custodial sentence at Limerick Court last December after a suspended sentence - imposed last June - was activated.

Judge Eugene O’Kelly activated the sentence after Muntean pleaded guilty to “harassing, intimidating and obstructing” members of the public outside the Wok King restaurant on O’Connell Street on December 14, last.

In June 2013, Muntean, who has a number of previous convictions for begging, was ordered to stay away from Limerick for two years after he admitted trading in the city centre without a casual trader’s licence.

Activating the suspended sentence, Judge O’Kelly said he was satisfied the defendant “was well aware” that a condition of the suspended sentence was that he stay away from Limerick.

“It was a blatant breach of the conditions of the suspended sentence,” he said, adding that the purpose of suspended sentences is to act as a deterrent.

“He didn’t even stay out (of Limerick) for six months,” he commented.

During an appeal at Limerick Circuit Court, Jack Nicholas BL said his client, who does not receive any social welfare payments, has taken steps to avoid begging and he said Muntean was “severely beaten” when he spent some time in prison earlier this year.

Judge Carroll Moran granted the appeal.


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