A district court judge has warned would-be burglars to think about the far-reaching implications such an invasion of privacy has on a family before breaking into a property.
Judge Mary Fahy made the comment after sentencing 33-year-old Martin Barrett to 16 months in jail. Barrett of 18 Dun Leinn, Old Monivea Road, Ballybane, was brought before Galway District Court on Monday where he pleaded guilty to stealing a laptop case, a Germin SatNav, and a red diary, total value €70, and criminal damage to the rear passenger window of a vehicle at Lakeview, Claregalway on January 15, 2012. He also pleaded guilty to trespassing at a building at Maigh Riochard, Headford Road, to commit theft of a Samsung mobile phone with a value of €99 on November 17, 2011.
The court heard how on January 15 last at 6.40pm gardai received a report of a man breaking into the side window of a vehicle and taking a laptop case, a satnav, and a diary before fleeing the scene. On November 17 last year, the defendant entered a house, while it was unoccupied, and made his way to a bedroom. He was caught in the act by the occupants when they returned to the dwelling and fled the scene. However, Barrett was apprehended by gardai who found a mobile phone, which had been stolen in the burglary, on his person.
Inspector Brendan Carroll further explained that Barrett has 35 previous convictions including failing to appear in court, burglary, public order, road traffic offences, theft, and handling stolen property.
Defence solicitor Olivia Traynor said that her client has had serious difficulties with drugs and alcohol and that he had been under the influence when these offence were committed. She added that Barrett is aware that the incident would be “very disturbing for the people” who live at the dwelling.
“It is a very serious matter entering a private dwelling. It is an invasion of privacy, and very distressing... These people [burglars] should think about the implications before entering a premises,” said Judge Fahy before imposing a 10 month prison sentence for the burglary charge. A further six months, to run consecutively, was imposed for theft while a three month sentence, to run concurrently, was imposed for criminal damage. The sentence was also backdated to January 16.