A district court judge described as “outrageous” the explanation given by a prolific burglar who claimed his motivation behind breaking into isolated houses, and taking up to €4,000 worth of property, was that he was “short of cash”.
Handing down a 23-month sentence Judge Mary Fahy rubbished the excuse given by Christopher Morrison pointing out that instead of getting a job the defendant preferred to make cash the easy way by committing crime.
The 25-year-old father of two with an address at Ardbear, Clifden, but formerly of 117 Sli Geal, Ballymoneen Road, was brought in custody before Galway District Court on Monday where he entered a plea of guilty to all charges against him. Morrison was charged with trespassing at a house at Farmerstown, Corrandulla, and committing the theft of €200 on March 6, 2012; trespassing at a house at Carrowbrowne, Castlegar, and committing the theft of Wii console and games valued at €700, €130 cash, and a Hewlett Packard laptop valued at €500, on March 5, 2012; trespassing at a house at Monument Road, Menlo, and committing the theft of €350 cash on March 3, 2012; trespassing at a house at Tonabrocky, Rahoon, and committing the theft of two black iPods valued at €400 and a passport, as well as trespassing at a second home in the same area and committing the theft of a Canon camera valued at €200, a green iPod valued at €150, and €200 cash on February 27, 2012.
He was also charged with trespassing at
at Bunnagippaun, Oughterard, and committing the theft of an Xbox 360 video game console valued at €250 on February 1, 2012, and trespassing at a premises at Bunnagippaun, Oughterard, and committing the theft of three handheld computers total value of €950 on January 25, 2012.
The court heard that during an investigation into a burglary at Farmerstown it was discovered that a number of burglaries had taken place throughout Galway. The defendant had been found at the scene of the Farmerstown burglary and arrested. When questioned by gardai he gave a full admission to the crime and volunteered information regarding a number of other burglaries giving the location of each incident.
The investigating garda said that while committing many of the burglaries Morrison had gained entry through a window - on one occasion actually removing the window completely. Morrison also specifically selected these houses because they were in remote areas with no one in the vicinity and no one in the house when committing the offences which were all carried out during the day. An accomplice would also act as a lookout while Morrison checked the windows of the premises making sure no one was home.
“It’s outrageous that someone would come and take out a window,” said Judge Fahy who was then told that out of a total property value of €3,990, only €1,540 worth was recovered.
Judge Fahy then heard that Morrison has 41 previous convictions, 11 of which were for burglary while the remainder were for theft and road traffic offences.
Defence solicitor Adrian MacLynn said that his client’s motivation was that “he was short of money” to which Judge Fahy replied: “Did he ever think that the houses he burgled and the people living in them that go out to work, did he ever think that they were short? That’s outrageous to think he has a sense of entitlement. Did he ever think of getting a job?”
Mr MacLynn then said that Morrison had pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity and that he had previously been employed.
“Eleven previous convictions [for burglary] is quite a lot, even for this court. The only thing in his favour is that he pleaded guilty. He is a young man, fit and healthy, if he is not working then he may be entitled to unemployement benefit. He likes to make cash the easy way,” said Judge Fahy. Free legal aid and leave to appeal was also granted.