Judge sympathises with man who must serve Christmas in prison

A prisoner received no extension to his jail term for stealing a charity box from a pub when the judge learned the sentence he originally gave him had been extended as a result of prison infractions beyond Christmas.

“Not to worry. There’ll be extra drumsticks on the day,” joked Judge Seamus Hughes with Patrick Conlon (24 ) of Grange Meadows, Mullingar.

The judge had originally sentenced Conlon in Mullingar District Court to two months in prison on November 14 for snatching a handbag, but anticipated a release date that would allow Conlon out for Christmas.

However, his prison escorts revealed that Conlon now had an expected release date of December 28, and that this could yet be stretched out even further.

“Were you a bold boy in prison?” asked the judge.

“I was. I didn’t take my medication. Oh, and I gave them [the prison escort officers] abuse on the way here ,” he admitted.

Inspector Nicholas Farrell told the court how Conlon had been in the Fiddlers bar on Connacht Street, Athlone on October 17 when he went behind the counter and took a charity box, with contents estimated at €100.

The judge asked who the charity was in aid of, and Conlon’s solicitor on the day, Mr Padraig Quinn, told him he’d been instructed there was no name on it.

Inspector Farrell clarified for the court, and told the judge he believed it was for a local soccer charity.

“That’s why he didn’t tell Mr Quinn what was on it,” smiled Judge Hughes, knowing Mr Quinn’s great affinity towards the 11-man pursuit.

Conlon also admitted hitting out at his escorts en route to the courthouse, but apologised to them in front of Judge Hughes.

“I’m trying to get my head together. I’m 24 now and I want to get my act together. I have a drink problem, and my anger is another one,” he admitted.

Mr Quinn explained how Conlon was due to have a probation report presented to the court in January.

“I have a certain sympathy for you. I get soft myself over Christmas,” said the judge.

“I’ll try not to come around you again,” said Conlon, as the judge added four more weeks to his sentence, but ruled they run concurrently.


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