A homeless addict who broke into a derelict shop for a night’s sleep was given two months to come up with compensation in order to avoid jail.
“If you don’t have that money in court, you’re going to prison, Mr O’Connor. I’m going to drive this into your brain - if you have any brain left,” said Judge Seamus Hughes to Richard O’Connor (33 ), formerly of no fixed abode, but now with an address c/o the Simon Community.
Earlier, the court heard how gardaí were called to investigate a broken window in a shop on Connacht Street at around 11pm on October 31.
Inspector Nicholas Farrell explained that when his colleagues searched the premises, they found O’Connor lying on a mattress on the second floor.
“When he was arrested he was very abusive. He called the Guards f***ing scumbags,” said the inspector, who revealed the damage to the window was costed at €150, and that O’Connor had 108 previous convictions.
His solicitor, Mr Mark Cooney, explained how O’Connor was released from prison in September after getting sentenced by Judge Hughes in July.
“When released he’s no place to stay. He’s not welcome at home. And this shop has been empty for a number of years,” said Mr Cooney.
Judge Hughes reminded O’Connor that there were agencies that he could turn to at times like these, and Mr Cooney pointed out his client had recently engaged with the local branch of the Simon Community.
The judge asked Mr Cooney how long it would take to raise the €150 for the window, and Mr Cooney asked for two months, as his client’s only income was €188 from the dole, and €70 of this was earmarked for his accommodation.
“I’m after coming off a load of drugs. I’m on anti-drugs [medication]. I’ve come off benzos [Diazepam or Valium] as well,” said O’Connor.
The judge remanded him on continuing bail until March 27 to come up with the compensation.