Drunk man found hiding in Christmas tree

A man who was found hiding in a Christmas tree in a house where he was trespassing was before Ballina District Court this week where trespassing and criminal damage charges were dismissed by Judge Mary Devins.

At a previous court sitting it was outlined that gardaí received a call from Mr Greg Connolly on December 31 2012 at 4.12am as he believed an intruder was in his house at Behybaun, Rehins, Ballina, because the house alarm was activated. Gardaí arrived at the scene within minutes and the house was searched.

Garda John Barrett heard movement and noise and in a room saw an outline of a person in a Christmas tree. The person was pulled out of the three and he was aggressive towards the garda. Deniss Denisovs, 6 Moyhaven Apartments, Foxford, had no footwear on, was intoxicated, and had to be restrained with the assistance of other gardaí.

Follow up searches were carried out in the vicinity of the home and it transpired that a house a few doors away owned by Packie Bonner had been damaged as the defendant tried to break in. Damage was caused to a door and also to a glass panel in his conservatory.

Damage caused to Mr Bonner’s property was €160 and damage to the Christmas tree in Mr Connolly’s house was €500.

Denisovs pleaded guilty. He has no previous convictions.

Solicitor for the defendant, John Gordon said that the Latvian has been in Ireland for four years and resides with his partner and child. He is employed in Foxford Woollen Mills and a letter was handed into court saying that the man was an excellent worker and this was out of character for him. Mr Gordon said that Denisovs had €660 in court for damage caused.

The solicitor said that the defendant and his sister had a New Year’s Eve dinner and drinks with friends where three bottles of whiskey was consumed among five people. Later that night he left a friend to a bed and breakfast while he was in his slippers (these slippers were found outside the B&B the next day ). According to Mr Gordon it seemed that after leaving his friend to the B&B he “took off on a frolic of his own”. His solicitor said that the man could not explain what happened, but Mr Gordon thought that he got lost when trying to find his way back to the house.

Judge Mary Devins said that it was “unusual behaviour” and said she could not ignore that three bottles of whiskey were consumed that night. Judge Devins directed the payment of money to the two injured parties and asked for a probation report. The case was adjourned to October 8.

At this week’s court, Mr Gordon said that the probation report was positive and he said that his client has not drank since the “extraordinary incident”.

Judge Devins said that the defendant acted like a “Christmas elf “that night, but certainly “not a benign elf”.

The judge dismissed the charges under the Probation Act.

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