Judge warns defendant he’ll face jail if caught stealing as much as a lollipop

A 27-year-old Athlone man who stole to feed his drug habit has now turned his attention to agriculture and would see his future working alongside horses, a sitting of Athlone District Court was told on Wednesday (February 15 ).

Aidan Lynch of Cedarwood Drive, Monksland, Athlone was seen leaving an address in the Monksland area after the occupant had come downstairs to investigate after hearing a noise.

He later told gardaí he had seen the defendant leaving by the front door. The incident occurred on June 22, 2011 and the owner reported €10 in loose change had been stolen.

Inspector Nicholas Farrell told the court that on July 19 at 1.25am a Garda patrol saw the defendant with a holdall bag which they asked him to open and explain where the goods had come from.

Defence solicitor Paul Connellan told the court the defendant had made a full and frank disclosure to gardaí when arrested. The crimes had been committed over a five week period, all to do with burglary. Mr Connellan described Lynch’s arrest as a wake-up call to him.

His solicitor told the court his client was now attending a college in Tipperary, where he was doing a two-year course. He has passed all his modules to date.

“You have turned your life around after being one of the most active house breakers around. How are you funding your college career?” asked Judge Seamus Hughes.

“My parents are paying for the course and I have also received funding, but I intend to pay them back. I was sick of my life and I hope to do all that is required from me at the college.”

However Judge Hughes stated he would adjourn all matters until the autumn for a progress report.

“If you deviate off the path I will have no hesitation in sending you to prison for 12 months. If you are caught stealing as much as a lollipop or for any reason you let this court down, I will come down on you.”

Lynch told the court he had eight weeks’ work experience that was coming up and he hoped he would be working with horses in the future.

Judge Hughes adjourned the case until September 29, when he will inspect the defendant’s summer college reports along with his summer activity. He also warned him that if he is involved in any trouble, he would receive an immediate custodial sentence.


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