A man who stole money and tools in Portlaoise to clear an alleged drug debt after being tortured by drug dealers leaving horrific injuries, with a gun put in his mouth on one occasion before he was left naked out in the middle of the country, has been given the probation act having paid full compensation to the injured parties.
Before Portlaoise District Court was Patrick McLoughlin, 31, previously residing in Rossvale, Mountmellick Road, Portlaoise, but currently with a listed address in Co. Tipperary.
When the matter first came before the district court in July, 2018, Sgt JJ Kirby gave evidence that in August 2017, a young woman living at The Hermitage, Portlaoise, paid the accused a sum of money over €1,000 to complete construction work for her.
He took the money and never completed the work, said Sgt Kirby.
On a date in December 2017, the accused rented a welder worth €2,000 and a console worth €850, but he never returned the items, leaving a total loss of €2,850.
Defence, Mr Philip Meagher said his client had never been in difficulty before and had a happy family life, but unfortunately through depression he took xanax and then moved on to cocaine, as well as drinking to excess.
The accused fell into company and built up a drug debt of €15,000 and lost his job. Mr Meagher said the accused then suffered appalling treatment and torture because of this debt, with the torture including having his teeth smashed out.
On one occasion the accused had a gun put into his mouth and he was walked to a bog, and he was left naked in the middle of the country.
Mr Meagher said the accused had been tortured and his injuries were absolutely horrific. He did not make a complaint to the gardaí about this, but gave them a description of the incidents and the pressure he was put under.
Mr Meagher said that the actual drug dealers the accused used to deal with sent these people to his house and he was put into a van.
The case was adjourned on a number of occasions for the accused to pay compensation, with payments of €1,050 and €1,200 subsequently made.
At last week’s court, Mr Meagher said his client had an additional €1,500 compensation in court.
Judge Catherine Staines said this was a serious matter, but she noted the accused, who had five previous convictions, had paid full compensation.
The judge applied the probation act, section 1.2.