A WATERFORD man convicted of stealing copper wire from a farm in Stradbally was taken into custody at last week’s district court, until he agreed to finally pay a fraction of the compensation to the injured party some two years after the theft was committed.
Thomas O’Reilly, of Bay 5, Kilbarry Halting Site, Kilbarry, Waterford, was charged with theft and entering a building with intent to commit an offence, at Ballycoolan, Stradbally, on June 17, 2010.
Inspector Martin Harrington gave evidence that the injured party’s daughter observed three men driving a van around her house on that date. The men stole copper wiring from the property and when the woman confronted them she was told to go back into the house. The loss to the farmer was €2,500 and the wire was not recovered.
O’Reilly has 10 previous convictions, one of which is for theft.
Defence, Mr Philip Meagher said that the wire was sold for a fraction of the total amount, just over €200. Mr Meagher said that O’Reilly had been encouraged to go along with the crime by the other two men, who had informed him that the wire was to be given to them as payment for work done.
“The story he was told came off the rails,” admitted Mr Meagher, who said that his client had given himself up at the garda station after he realised what had happened. Mr Meagher said that O’Reilly had no compensation in court, as he was on social welfare and had a young family.
“He’s had two years to address compensation and it took two bench warrants to get him here,” remarked Judge Catherine Staines.
The judge ordered that O’Reilly be taken into custody until he provide some compensation. When last Thursday’s court resumed after lunch, Mr Meagher informed the judge that his client had received social welfare the day before and was offering €250 compensation.
Judge Staines ordered that the compensation be handed over and said that O’Reilly should contact his friends “who got him into this”, to seek further compensation.
The matter was put back to June 6, 2013, for the remainder of the compensation to be paid. O’Reilly was remanded on bail to that date, with condition that he must sign on at Waterford Garda Station three times a week.