Addict has ‘crushing’ jail term cut for stealing from whiskey museum

Addict has ‘crushing’ jail term cut for stealing from whiskey museum

A man with 161 previous convictions, who stole from a women's changing room while on bail for stealing from a whiskey museum, has had his ‘crushing’ jail term cut from six years to four.

Jonathan Grimes (33) was on bail for the whiskey museum burglary when he targeted Bewley's cafe in Dublin City centre on two separate occasions.

Grimes of Rutland Street, Dublin, had pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary at the Irish Whiskey Museum, Grafton Street, Dublin, on February 8, 2019.

The father-of-one also pleaded guilty to two burglaries at Bewley's on Grafton Street on February 23, 2019 and March 6, 2019 respectively. He had 161 previous convictions, including convictions for burglary, robbery and theft.

The court heard that Grimes had made his way to a private area of the whiskey museum, where he stole a tablet worth approximately €300.

He was identified from CCTV footage, arrested and charged. He was then on bail for this offence when he committed the two later burglaries.

In his first Bewley's offence, Grimes went into a women’s changing room and stole a cash belt. He then returned to the cafe in March, accompanied by another man. The two men stole a bottle of gin and a laptop worth €1,500.

Judge Elma Sheahan sentenced Grimes to four years imprisonment for the museum burglary. She also sentenced him to three years imprisonment and four years imprisonment respectively for the two cafe burglaries, which she ordered to run concurrent to each other, but consecutive to the museum sentence.

She suspended the final two years, resulting in a six year jail term.

Grimes appealed against the severity of this sentence to the Court of Appeal on Tuesday.

Katherine McGillicuddy BL argued that the headline sentence for the museum burglary was too high, considering the lack of aggravating factors often present in burglaries.

She said that insufficient weight was also given for his mitigating circumstances, which included his long history of substance misuse, something he had been making efforts to address.

Counsel said that the offences were committed to feed his drug habit, which was borne out by the fact that the property was not recovered.

Ms McGillicuddy said that her client had a 10-year-old son, who was his motivation.

“That net custodial sentence of six years was crushing for him,” she said.

Court President Justice George Birmingham, who sat with Justice John Edwards and Justice Isobel Kennedy, delivered an extempore judgement this afternoon.

The court accepted that the headline sentence for the whiskey museum burglary was too high and substituted a two-year sentence for the four-year sentence on that count.

The court left the sentences for the other counts alone, leaving Grimes with a four-year jail term.

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