Two young men who entered an historic derelict house in Abbeyleix and took a horned ram's skull and an old photograph, were up in Portlaoise District Court last week each facing a charge of theft after entering as a trespasser.
Kasper Kroll, (20) from 3 Colliers Wood, Portlaoise, and Liam Ousley (27) of 17 Colliers Court, pleaded guilty.
Their solicitor Philip Meagher said that it was “a case of absolute naivety as far as the law is concerned.”
The pair parked outside Aylworth House owned by Seamus Delahunty, and climbed over the wall at 8pm in daylight on August 23.
“They are friends from their schooldays and share an interest in historic things,” the solicitor said.
He said they “took mementos” and were then confronted by the son of the original owner, who called the Gardaí. The two handed back the items and waited with him for over 30 minutes for Gardaí and confessed, said Mr Meagher.
He said Mr Kroll is studying computers in Athlone and Mr Ousley is an apprentice electrician, and a conviction would affect their chances of working abroad.
He asked if they could make a contribution to the court poorbox and to have two months to save up.
Judge Marie Keane said:
“One cannot be wandering around other people's property, of an historic nature. I am disposed to considering a payment of €200 each to the Irish Georgian Society, who do wonderful work preserving properties such as this for others to enjoy,” she said.
They must pay by January 10, or face conviction and a fine of €350 in default.