A Portlaoise man with 95 previous convictions who was appealing a prison sentence for handling stolen property was described by Judge Tony Hunt as having engaged in “systematic dishonesty” which merited a custodial sentence.
The recent Circuit Court heard that Edward Mulranney, 405 Market Mews, Portlaoise, was found with property which had been stolen from a number of robberies, and was given a 12-month sentence and an eight-month sentence, consecutive, in the District Court. He was appealing these jail sentences before Judge Hunt.
State solicitor, Mr Donal Dunne gave evidence that among the items recovered at Mulranney’s home were a laptop which had been stolen from the Redeemed Christian Church; tools valued at €1,455 which were stolen from Clonminam business park; a hoist for bus engines valued at €400; and a diagnostic machine valued at €2,500. The total property recovered was valued at €4,765.
Mr Dunne said that Mulranney did not cooperate when questioned and had claimed that he bought the items at various markets. He did not know the names of the people he had bought from, or claimed not to remember where he had got certain items.
“He was totally uncooperative,” said Mr Dunne.
86 of Mulranney’s 95 previous convictions were for road traffic matters, while there were also convictions for robbery, stealing a vehicle, criminal damage, theft, and the possession of knives. He also had further road traffic matters to come before the District Court.
Defence barrister, Mr Rory Hanniffy said his client, a 39-year-old married man with three children, had been completely reckless as to the origins of the stolen items found. Mulranney dealt in buying and selling items and used various websites, as well as people simply calling to his place of work.
“These websites are mentioned in dispatches concerning hooky goods,” observed Judge Hunt.
“He didn’t ask the questions he should have, he was reckless as to the ownership of these items,” admitted Mr Hanniffy, adding that the vast majority of Mulranney’s convictions were for road traffic matters.
Mr Hanniffy went on to say that Mulranney had two co-accused in the case who appeared with him before the District Court and at least one of them had been given community service instead of prison.
“They probably didn’t have previous convictions stretching back to my time starting the bar,” remarked Judge Hunt.
Mr Dunne informed the judge that there had been a general raid by gardaí on a number of premises and Mulranney’s two co-accused had been “at different levels” as there weren’t as many items found on their premises.
Judge Hunt noted that Mulranney had previously been given community service and it had no effect.
The judge said the offences were at the top end of the scale and it would be “a bit of a stretch” to give Mulranney a total suspension of the prison sentences, however he believed the two sentences imposed had been “excessive” for a District Court matter.
“I’m very reluctant to interfere with this, it’s quite clear there was some systematic dishonesty underlying this, it goes beyond recklessness. I don’t see why he shouldn’t get a custodial sentence,” said Judge Hunt.
The judge imposed 240 hours’ community service in lieu of the 12-month sentence, and suspended the eight-month sentence for 12 months on Mulranney’s own bond of €300.