06 Dec 2021

Homeless man damaged cars in Laois town to get prison accommodation

Homeless man damaged cars in Laois town to get prison accommodation

A man attempted to get himself incarcerated by damaging cars in Portlaoise, the district court heard on Thursday last. 

Paul Stefan Dittebrand, 40, of 86 Benburb Street, Dublin 7 was charged with criminal damage at Parkside, Abbeyleix Road, Portlaoise and at the Kyle Centre on July 4 this year. 

Sgt JJ Kirby told the court that on July 4 at the Kyle Centre a wing mirror to a Honda Civic car had been damaged. The cost of the damage was €750. 

In the other incident the passenger window of a car had been broken and the cost of that damage had been €300. CCTV had captured the incidents. 

Appearing for Mr Dittebrand, defence solicitor Josephine Fitzpatrick said that he had serious psychotic issues. He had not been taking medication for a diagnosis of schizophrenia in 2014. He had come to Ireland and had ended up homeless. 

He had committed these offences because he hoped to be housed by the Irish Prison Service. 

He had been remanded for an incident in Whitehall and was released on bail the previous day. He had to meet a further court date for this incident. It was hoped he could liaise with the German consulate and get a passport to return there. It was hoped he would have a passport and ticket by that court date in Dublin. 

He had been in prison from July 18 to November 18, and had spent a month in St. Vincent’s. Initially he was deemed not fit to plead but was deemed to be able to do so now. 

He had no compensation available. 

His time in prison had been spent working with the psychiatric services to get stable on medication. 

He had no fixed address, and had temporary accommodation in Dublin. 

Judge Catherine Staines noted he was originally from South Africa and had suffered from mental health illness from an early age. 

He had moved to Australia, then Germany and then Ireland. He had been homeless and had attempted to get himself incarcerated to get somewhere to stay. A huge amount of work had been done with him and he had been stabilised. 

He had spent four months in prison. 

The Judge applied Section 1 (2) of the Probation Act. She directed that compensation of €500 and €300 be paid from the court poor box to the injured parties. 

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