Case of stolen chicken breast a ‘waste of resources’, says judge

A case in which a homeless man was brought to court for stealing a southern fried chicken breast, valued at only €2.69, was described by a Galway District Court judge recently as a “total waste of resources”.

Judge Mary Fahy presiding at Galway District Court last week questioned the reasoning behind such a case being brought before the court as the proceedings had cost far more than the value of a chicken breast.

Brendan Hanney (54 ) with an address at Fairgreen Hostel was brought before Judge Fahy and pleaded guilty to stealing a Southern fried chicken breast, valued at €2.69, from Dunnes Stores, Edward Square, on November 26, 2008.

The court heard that when arrested the defendant’s reply to the charge had been: “I do not remember. I’m suffering from amnesia”.

Inspector Mick Coppinger told the court that on the date in question the defendant entered Dunnes Stores and approached the hot food counter where he put “southern fried chicken in his pocket” and tried to leave without paying.

Defence solicitor Valerie Corcoran said that her client suffers from alcoholism which has resulted in him being homeless.

“The amount is €2.69. It’s a total waste of resources, how much has it cost to bring this man to court?” asked Judge Fahy who then gave the Hanney the benefit of the Probation Act Section 1(1 ).

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