A PART-TIME farmer who admitted buying stolen equipment for a knock-down price avoided a criminal conviction following a successful appeal.
During the appeal, Judge Tom O’Donnell was told Malcolm Dick, aged 39, previously admitted handling stolen property at his farm at Riverfarm, Ballycarney, Clarina earlier this year.
Limerick District Court was told when gardaí searched the farmyard they found a trailer valued at €2,000 and a log splitter worth €920.
Both items, the court heard, had been reported stolen from locations in Kilmallock and Cork a number of weeks earlier.
Mr Dick - a married father-of-three - admitted to gardai that he knew the trailer and log-splitter were stolen when he purchased them for €400 each from an individual who arrived at the farmyard and offered to sell them to him .
However, the defendant did not disclose to investigating gardai who had sold him the items.
Judge O’Kelly was told that in addition to having 25 dairy cows on his 109 acre farm, the defendant works as a night truck driver to supplement his income and hadn’t thought of the far-reaching consequences of his actions when he bought the goods.
The judge commented that Mr Dick’s farm, which he said consists of some prime County Limerick lands, was a “significant asset”.
During this week’s appeal, Pat Barriscale BL said his client had been assessed for community service and had been deemed suitable by the Probation Service.
However, because Mr Dick works mainly at night, agreement could not reached as to when he would complete the community service.
State Solicitor Aidan Judge agreed this was the case.
Mr Barriscale said there was no more his client could have done and he submitted the five month prison sentence imposed in the district court was excessive and that Mr Dick had received a term of imprisonment “through no fault of his own”.
Noting the defendant has no previous convictions, made admissions and pleaded guilty, Judge O’Donnell applied the Probation Act.