Newcastle West Courthouse
A BURGLAR who stole thousands of cigarettes from a service station in a rural part of County Limerick avoided a prison sentence after he paid compensation.
Patrick Harty, 26, who has an address at O’Brien Street, Tipperary Town, had pleaded guilty to burglary charges relating to a number of offences which occurred during the early hours of May 22, 2018.
Inspector Andrew Lacey told Newcastle West Court the first incident happened at around 3.30am when Mr Harty and a number of other men entered the creamery in Ballyagran.
Damage was caused to the front door of the premises and the culprits stole a sledgehammer and a small amount of cash before fleeing.
The second incident, he said, happened at O’Gorman’s service station at Ballyvologue, Ballingarry around 20 minutes later.
There, the culprits smashed a front door and forced their way into the premises.
Once inside, they located and stole cigarettes which had a retail value of around €2,500.
The cigarettes and cash were never recovered but Inspector Lacey confirmed that full compensation has since been paid by the defendant.
Seeking leniency on behalf of his client, solicitor Michael O’Donnell said Mr Harty, who has a number of previous convictions, was “out of home doing all the wrong things” around the time he committed the offences but that he is “now back on track”.
He said another man was “the brains” behind the operation but that Mr Harty had still raised full compensation.
“He has struggled to get the money together,” he said asking the court to note his client is a father of three young children who has kept the “wrong company” in the past.
He said Mr Harty, who suffers from some mental health difficulties, doesn’t have a “long history of offending” and that he is apologetic and regrets what happened.
A number of references, including a letter from a local priest were submitted to the court by Mr O’Donnell.
Imposing sentence, Judge Mary Larkin noted the defendant’s guilty plea and his cooperation with gardai. She said a prison sentence was appropriate but indicated she was willing to suspend it on condition he stays out of trouble. “If he comes back here again, he won’t avoid jail,” she commented as she imposed a six month prison sentence which she suspended for two years.
Separately, Mr Harty was fined €100 for failing to appear in court on two separate occasions earlier this year while a burglary charge relating to a domestic burglary in burglary in Adare was taken into consideration.