The sentencing hearing took place at Limerick Courthouse
A JUDGE has been urged not to jail a Limerick man who fitted false registration plates to a high-powered car within hours of stealing it.
Peter Moloney, 22, of Monaleen Road, Castletroy has pleaded guilty to burglary and theft charges relating to offences which happened in the early hours of April 5, 2017.
During a sentencing hearing, Garda Paul Bentley said he first encountered the defendant at around 5.30pm on April 5, 2017 when he stopped a car on the Dublin Road.
Mr Moloney, he said, did not have a driver’s licence and gave a false name when arrested for road traffic offences.
Garda Bentley said when the defendant was being processed at Mayorstone garda station, the keys of an Audi Q5 “fell from his underwear”.
The keys were linked to a car which had been stolen following a break-in at a private home in Castletroy and gardai investigating that incident were alerted.
The stolen Audi, which was worth around €37,000, was located at Salmon Weir, Annacotty a number of hours later.
Judge Tom O’Donnell was told the vehicle was not damaged and that it had been fitted with false registration plates.
During interview, Mr Moloney initially told gardai he had being drinking heavily and that he could not remember how he got the key.
He later admitted breaking into the house and taking the keys which had been left in a bowl on a counter in the kitchen.
He told gardai he fitted the plates himself using double-sided tape but did not give any indication as to his intentions.
”It’s unclear what he intended to do,” he told John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting.
Pat Barriscale BL said his client had “no reasonable explanation” for his actions and that he has “little memory of the night.
He said he was associating with the wrong kind of people around the time and that he has now “completely distanced himself from that group”.
The barrister said Mr Moloney is working full time, is involved in sport and turned his life around since the incident.
“His behaviour was wholly inappropriate, he realises the seriousness of what he did,” he said noting the contents of a probation report which stated his client is at low risk of re-offending.
”I an confident he will not disappointing you if you give him a chance,” said Mr Barriscale.
Adjourning the matter, Judge O’Donnell commented the use of false registration plates was puzzling and “smacks of pre-meditation”.
He will impose sentence in June.