A Ballyroan man who stole a shotgun from his uncle’s house to give to drug dealers to whom he owed a debt has been given community service.
Judge Catherine Staines said she was most concerned as to where the shotgun had ended up, as it was not recovered by the gardaí.
At last week’s sitting of Portlaoise District Court, Thomas Scully, with an address listed at Tullore, Ballyroan, was charged with committing the burglary on September 21, 2013.
Inspector Aidan Farrelly gave evidence that the offence occurred between 7pm and 8.30pm on the night, when Scully and a number of others entered the house and stole the shotgun.
Insp Farrelly explained that the house belonged to Scully’s uncle, and at one stage Scully himself had lived there, which was how he had been able to gain entry.
The inspector said that the shotgun was never recovered. He told the court that Scully had been abusing heroin at the time and had got himself into debt.
Scully had four previous convictions.
Defence was solicitor, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick.
Ms Fitzpatrick acknowledged that Scully was at risk of going to prison, but she told the court that he had made great strides in turning his life around.
Ms Fitzpatrick explained that Scully had a key to the house and would come and go from the premises.
On the night, he left a window open which allowed others to gain entry to the house.
Ms Fitzpatrick went on to say that Scully is now drug free, and he had €140 in court to cover the loss suffered by his uncle.
She said Scully wished to apologise, and had already apologised to his uncle.
Ms Fitzpatrick admitted that Scully had not been able to retrieve the stolen shotgun.
“He’s not proud of his actions,” she said.
Judge Staines questioned how €140 would cover the loss.
Insp Farrelly informed her that the weapon was a single-barrel shotgun, and €140 was what the injured party had paid for it.
Judge Staines ordered the money be handed over, and remarked: “I’m most concerned about where that shotgun has gone.”
Ms Fitzpatrick replied that Scully had said that if he went any further with providing information to the gardaí his own life would be in danger.
Insp Farrelly confirmed this, saying that Scully was very much in fear of the people he was dealing with.
“He wasn’t forthcoming,” said Insp Farrelly, going on to say that Scully is now clean of drugs and is no longer associating with those people.
Judge Staines ordered a probation report and also a community service report on Scully.
The matter was put back to March 26 next year, for the results of the reports and for the case to be finalised.