A mother and son failed to contest the charges of handling stolen jewellery after their credibility was deemed by a District Court judge to be in tatters.
Judge Mary Fahy found that the claims made by Mary Barry (43 ) and her son Jason (18 ), both of 148 Rahylin Glebe, Ballybane, were not to be believed after a lengthy hearing at Galway District Court on Monday. The court heard that a burglary had taken place a neighbour’s house and that later that day attempts were made to sell on the stolen property to a Cash For Gold outlet. Mary and Jason Barry were later both charged with handling stolen property; a charge of burglary against Jason was later dimissed. His brother Damien Barry (21 ) of the same address pleaded guilty to handling stolen rings and was remanded on continuing bail to February 27 next.
During the hearing, the injured party told the court that when she returned to her house on September 28 last the place was “wrecked” and that a number of items were missing including a Claddagh ring, a diamond wish-bone shaped ring, bracelets, a necklace chain, flat screen TV, laptops, and a camera. The woman, who was visibly upset, was shown the two rings and the necklace chain, confirming that these belonged to her.
Detective Sergeant John McElroy then gave evidence that he and Detective Garda Gerry Carroll had been on duty in Eyre Square Shopping Centre, some time after 3pm later that day, when their attention was drawn to a man, known to them as Damien Barry, at the Cash For Gold desk located across from Burger King, and they watched as a transaction involving two rings took place. As they were passing they also took notice of a second man, Jason Barry, hanging around nearby. When the transaction was complete the two men met and went to leave together. When questioned the two men said they were selling rings for their mother. Det Sgt McElroy added that both men offered the same excuse and when Det Garda Carroll phoned Mary Barry she confirmed this story and gave descriptions of the two rings. The gardai let the two men go, however soon after they received a report regarding the burglary which occured earlier that day and they returned to the Cash For Gold desk to gather details of the transaction that had been made. They then went to the Barry home where they met with Mary and Jason Barry. Det Sgt McElroy said that when he asked for the return of the property Jason “looked at his mother as if looking for approval to say something and she indicated ‘no’ by shaking her head”, leading gardai to believe that she had played an active part.
Both Mary and Jason Barry were arrested and taken to Galway Garda Station and were later joined by Damian Barry. Jason Barry was interviewed, however he exercised his right to silence. When Mary Barry was searched a gold chain, matching the description of the one stolen in the burglary, was found around her neck. She denied that this was stolen property, claiming that she had been given it after her mother passed away. During questioning Mary admitted that she had earlier lied to Detective Garda Carroll about the rings because “she knew they were after getting into trouble”.
After hearing the evidence Judge Fahy said that in relation to the charge of burglary against Jason Barry the State had not proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt, and it was dismissed. However, in regard to the charge of handling stolen property Judge Fahy said that the credibility of both accused was “in tatters”. “Neither of them can be believed,” said Judge Fahy before convicting them both. Mary Barry, who has no previous convictions, was sentenced to five months in jail which was then suspended for 12 months on condition that she enter into a bond to be of good behaviour. Jason Barry, who has eight previous convictions, was then sentenced to nine months’ detention for the handling charge. He was then sentenced to a further seven months, to be served consecutively, for theft at Eglinton Casino in which he stole a staff member’s handbag on August 15, 2011.
When the hearing concluded Judge Fahy said that businesses that take in jewellery for payment “have to take some responsibility for their actions. Taking in valuable goods, which have not just monetary but sentimental value, with no questions asked and a pittance given, it is actively encouraging this type of thing”.