Last chance for Portlaoise thief

AN 18-year-old Portlaoise man charged with a number of offences including burglary from two homes was last week given one last chance by Judge Catherine Staines to pay back every penny he owes to the injured parties.

AN 18-year-old Portlaoise man charged with a number of offences including burglary from two homes was last week given one last chance by Judge Catherine Staines to pay back every penny he owes to the injured parties.

Liam Gavin, of 12 Abbey Court, Abbeyleix Road, Portlaoise, was charged with three counts of hit and run, driving without a licence or insurance, and the unauthorised taking of a car, at Lakeside Gardens, Kilminchy, Portlaoise, on November 13 last year.

He was charged with public order offences at Main Street, Portlaoise, on April 9 this year.

Gavin was also charged with burglary at 1 Heather Lane, Esker Hills, Portlaoise, and 57 Laurel Drive, Esker Hills, Portlaoise, on July 20.

In relation to the burglaries, Inspector Martin Harrington gave evidence that Gavin was arrested on September 17 and made admissions to the crimes.

From one house, he stole items worth €1,100, which included a laptop and jewellery, while from the other house he stole items worth €3,000, which included a laptop, a sat nav, a camera and jewellery.

None of the property was recovered.

Defence, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick admitted that the burglaries were particularly serious as none of the items were recovered, although she said that it had not been Gavin’s idea to rob the houses and he had only gone along with another individual. She said that Gavin had been a heroin addict at the time but had since detoxed, although he still has a cannabis habit.

Ms Fitzpatrick said that things had improved considerably for her client at home and he is starting a FAS course, which means his social welfare will increase.

“He hopes to save up and pay his debt to society,” she said, adding that he currently gives €30 a week to his mother for his upkeep at home.

Judge Staines asked whether he was prepared to save €100 a week compensation, to which Ms Fitzpatrick replied he would welcome the chance.

“These are very serious matters, breaking into people’s homes,” declared Judge Staines. “If there was a place I could detain him and get him proper treatment I’d send him there, but that place does not exist.”

The matter was put back to March 14 next year, for Gavin to save €1,000, €500 each to the victims of his burglaries.

“He’s going to pay back every penny,” said Judge Staines.

Judge Staines also requested an up to date probation report, and she advised Gavin to accept a place in residential treatment to deal with his addiction, if he is offered one.

“This is the very last chance you’re going to get,” warned the judge.