Portlaoise Court: Special television stolen from school

'Reckless' purchase

Portlaoise Court: Special television stolen from school

A man charged with having in his possession a television set used to help people with autism which was stolen from a Timahoe school claimed he bought the set from a youth in his estate.

Martin Samko (32), with an address at 31 Lakeside Gardens, Kilminchy, Portlaoise, was charged at last week’s sitting of Portlaoise District Court with possession of stolen property.

Inspector Aidan Farrelly gave evidence that gardaí searched the accused’s home on June 23 this year and discovered a television which had been stolen from Timahoe National School on May 16.

The television was a Promethean ActivPanel set, which could be used to help people with autism.

Defence, Mr Philip Meagher said his client was a Czech-national who had been living in Ireland for eight years.

Mr Meagher said that his client had been approached by “a young gentleman”, one of a set of twins who lived in the same estate, who told Samko that the television was used for gaming.

As the accused has five children, he bought the television for €400.

Defence said that Samko was later “utterly shocked” when he learnt the true value of the television.

Mr Meagher said his client wished to apologise profusely, and there was no damage to the television.

He said his client had been reckless in buying the television set.

Insp Farrelly confirmed that the accused was not involved in the burglary of the television, with the people responsible currently before the courts.

Insp Farrelly said that Samko cooperated fully with the garda investigation.

Judge Catherine Staines praised the good detective work of the gardaí in recovering the television, as there had been a lot of fundraising carried out initially to purchase the set for the school.

“You do not buy a television from a young person on the street,” said the judge, imposing the maximum amount of community service, 240 hours, in lieu of ten months in prison.

Judge Staines also directed that €500 from the court poor box go to Timahoe National School.