Three friends who had broken into a house to go drinking were each given a suspended sentence and ordered not to associate with each other in the future after the judge warned they were “all skating on very thin ice”.
The court heard how gardaí were called to a reported burglary at around 9am on March 24 at 40, St Keiran’s Terrace by the owner of the then unoccupied rental property after he noticed the front door kicked in.
Inspector Aidan Minnock gave evidence that three people were discovered in a rear bedroom, and though they ran off, were arrested shortly after on Assumption Road, and subsequently admitted having stayed there overnight to go drinking.
The three men were James O’Reilly (20 ), of no fixed abode, but formerly with addresses in Beechpark West and Alverno Drive, Willow Park; Anton Ring (18 ), of Thornbury Drive, Willow Park; and John Costello (18 ), of Battery Heights.
O’Reilly, who had been released from jail in March after being sentenced last year for threatening to kill his father with a breadknife, but was now back living with him on post-release supervision, told Judge Seamus Hughes they were denying the damage to the front door as they had a key to the back door.
Ring, who appeared from custody as he had a six-month suspended sentence re-activated on April 16, confirmed this, but refused to say from whom the key had been obtained.
“It’s not my business to tell,” said Ring, with that odd solidarity of the convicted.
“I’ll ask you for one final time, where did you get the key? Tell me, or you’re going to get a lengthy extension on your sentence,” warned Judge Hughes.
His solicitor, Mr Tony McLynn, quickly explained how his client had told him he had got the key from a friend who had been a former tenant of the property.
Costello, who didn’t speak, is on a methadone programme and was finishing 240 hours of a community service order, the court learned.
O’Reilly was accompanied by a HSE aftercare worker, and had a letter written about him from his mother handed in to the judge.
Though the judge accepted the three had used the house to “to stay out of the elements to go drinking”, he added: “I confidently expect I will be meeting each of these again in the future. I have no faith in your clients”.
He gave each one month in prison, suspended for two years, before ordering his novel condition of mutual disassociation.