Burglar caught red-handed gets six months

A burglar who had used up his chances was sentenced to six months at Galway District Court this week while his accomplice received a suspended sentence.

James Morris (22 ) with an address at 11 John Coogan Park, Newcastle, and Joseph McDonagh (20 ) with an address at 32 Droim Chaoin, Rahoon, appeared before Judge Gerard Haughton charged with possession of a screwdriver and gloves, while not in place of residence, with the intent to commit burglary at 39 Ard Na Coiste on June 11, 2008. They were also both charged with committing criminal damage while trespassing on the same date and address.

Inspector Pat McHugh told the court that at 2.15am the Crime Taskforce was alerted to a possible burglary in progress and when they arrived at the scene they found that both defendants “ransacked the bedroom” and smashed a window. When gardai arrived the two men tried “to escape out back”. Inspector McHugh said that they were found to be wearing gloves and had screwdrivers on their person which had been “used to gain entry to the house”.

In relation to Morris, Inspector McHugh told the court that he had previous convictions for public order offences in April 2008. McDonagh had previous convictions for public order offences in March 2007.

Defence solicitor Sean Acton said that Morris, who had been caught at the scene, had been suffering from cystic fibrosis and was not allowed to work. Mr Acton added that Morris has had a cocaine addiction since his late teens and had “significant medical problems”.

Mr Action said that McDonagh, the fourth youngest of 12 children, had difficult family circumstances. He said that the defendant knows the consequences of his actions and does not have a drug problem.

Judge Haughton noted that there were some differences between the two defendants; he pointed out that Morris had been given the benefit of community service in April 2008 which was an “alternative to going to prison” and “he should have been aware that any further offences puts him in jeopardy”. He then convicted and sentenced Morris to a total of six months in jail.

In the case of McDonagh, Judge Haughton imposed six months detention suspended for 12 months on his own bond of €100 and ordered the defendant to keep the peace during that period. Recognisance for both defendants was fixed at €300 with independent surety of €600, one third to be lodged.


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