Judge rewards “pang of conscience”

A man who reported his own theft from a bank immediately after he did it was given the benefit of the Probation Act in the District Court this week (September 7 ) in a case the judge called “exceptional”.

Court heard how the 34-year-old man was in the Permanent TSB in Golden Island on May 25, 2010 to pay his rent but instead, using his landlord’s banking details to which he was supposed to lodge his rent, chose to withdraw €200 instead.

His solicitor, Owen Carty described this as a “spur of the moment” decision, and that: “before anyone knew it was missing, my client went back to the bank, admitted he stole the money and attempted to give it back”.

“He realised his own wrongdoing,” said Mr Carty.

Permanent TSB refused to accept this action, however, and initiated proceedings. In line with internal policy, the bank refunded the landlord.

Mr Carty handed in €200 to the Gardaí to make a final restitution to the bank.

“His pang of conscience makes this case exceptional. I will apply the Probation Act,” said Judge Seamus Hughes.

The Probation is the mildest censure available to a District Court judge in the case of a guilty plea, and allows the defendant leave court without the stain of conviction on his or her permanent record.

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