Sidekick spared sentence on Garda advice

 An “in thrall” youth who accompanied an intimidating cousin on a crime spree was told to thank a garda this week (May 14 ) that he avoided a jail sentence. Patrick Corcoran (20 ) from St Patrick’s Park, Ballyforan, Co Roscommon was in court to plead guilty to two counts of possession of stolen goods after the three-incident spree over the night of October 8-9 in Athlone. At a previous hearing on April 16 at which his co-accused cousin - Patrick Stokes (23 ), St Patrick’s Terrace, Ballyforan - was charged, it was revealed how Stokes assaulted a number of people, stealing a bicycle in Irishtown and a smartphone in Golden Island on the night in question with Corcoran. On that date, because the DPP was seeking to indict the cousin on the more serious assault charges, his case was put back to June to prepare a book of evidence, and Judge Seamus Hughes asked for the attendance of the injured parties this week. One of these victims appeared this week and told the judge how he was assaulted, and how it only stopped after two Good Samaritans came to his aid. Though knocked to the ground and kicked during the theft of his phone, he told the court that he was not hospitalised and was “fine today”. Defending solicitor, Mr Padraig Quinn, explained how Corcoran only kept watch, and then held the stolen items on the night in question, and even tried telling one of the assault victims to “run away”, but the judge was unimpressed. “As far as I’m concerned, your client is a co-accused in the same assault, just charged with a different offence,” said Judge Hughes. However, on the advice of the arresting officer - Garda Gillian Small - Inspector Nicholas Farrell for the prosecution felt some clarity could be added to the scenario. “Judge, it would be the State’s contention that this person would be very naive, and under the control of the other person,” he offered generously. “The defendant told the garda he was frightened of this man,” said the inspector. Garda Small confirmed that Corcoran - who was accompanied by both his parents - was “very remorseful” and that “he’s not hanging round with this man [Stokes] since”. After a short adjournment to find out if Corcoran was suitable for community service, during which he was deemed to be so, Judge Hughes warned him: “I was of a mind to send you away for six months today. You are a very lucky man and you can thank Garda Small for that,” said the judge.

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