Aurimas Petraska pleaded guilty to five charges
A LITHUANIAN man who was in the company of another man who was shot in the head by armed gardai in West Limerick last year has pleaded guilty to multiple theft charges.
Aurimas Petraska, aged 32, who has an address at Church Street in Rathkeale is due to be sentenced in April.
When arraigned at Limerick Circuit Court last Friday, the defendant pleaded guilty to five charges relating to offences which occurred in three different counties on various dates during 2015 and 2016.
The only one of the offences which happened in Limerick was a burglary at Isobels, Main Street, Adare on June 21, 2016.
The other offences occurred at locations in Cahir, County Tipperary and at three separate locations in County Cork.
Two of the charges relate to break-ins at commercial premises while a third other relates to the theft of registration plates from a parked car.
The defendant has also admitted the unlawful possession of a “welded hammer tool” at Belgooly, West Cork on October 21, 2015.
Judge Tom O’Donnell adjourned sentencing to April 7, next to facilitate the preparation of a report by the governor at Limerick Prison where the defendant is currently being detained.
On the next date, the judge hear details relating to each of the offences before the court.
Mr Petraska was arrested after the car he was travelling in was stopped at a checkpoint between Ardagh and Shanagolden in the early hours of June 28, 2016.
Another Lithuanian national – Tomas Mikalajunas – who was also in the car on the night sustained gunshot wounds after the vehicle was stopped by gardai.
The 36-year-old, who spent several months in hospital afterwards, has denied any involvement criminal activity.
“I was driving home with my friend. I saw the police with their lights and I stopped. One of the guards was shouting and screaming. I put my hands up and I was shot,” he said in an interview with this newspaper late last year.
While it is believed the firearm discharged accidentally, the Garda Siochana Ombusman Commission (GSOC) is investigating the circumstances of the shooting incident after it was referred to it by the Garda Commissioner under the provisions of the Garda Siochana Act.
Meawnhile, the Limerick Leader has learned that Mr Mikalajunas, who was released from hospital recently, was arrested and questioned by gardai late last week.
While he was released without charge, it is understood a file is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.