A TIPPERARY man who stole a girl’s mobile phone from a public playground was last week given a suspended sentence at the district court.
James McInerney, The Car Park, Templemore, Tipperary, was charged with theft at The Playground, Rathdowney, on July 15.
Inspector Martin Harrington gave evidence that a girl left her mobile phone down in the playground and McInerney lifted it. McInerney at first denied the crime when questioned by gardaí, but then the gardaí searched his vehicle and the phone was recovered.
He has 16 previous convictions, including two for similar offences.
Defence, Mr Declan Breen said his client had seen the phone on the ground and assumed it had been discarded or lost. Mr Breen admitted it was a mean crime, but it was also an opportunistic one.
“It was a silly thing to do,” he said.
After reading a statement by the injured party, Judge Catherine Staines rebuked defence by saying: “Don’t assume this court is stupid.”
“The injured party saw him lifting her phone and she said it to a man who went up to him and the defendant denied it. He was asked to return it and he didn’t, he stole it,” said the judge.
“He accepts full culpability,” replied Mr Breen.
McInerney was remanded in custody until he paid €100 compensation. At the end of last week’s court he paid the money and the judge imposed a four month sentence, suspended.