A Portlaoise man convicted of numerous offences, including the theft of items such as clothes and diesel oil on various dates, as well as public order and road traffic offences, has been jailed for six months.
At last week’s sitting of Portlaoise District Court, Darren Coss (24), Cois na hAbhainn, Portlaoise, was charged with three counts of handling stolen property, six thefts, four public order offences, and drug possession.
Garda O'Connor said that when he charged the accused with five of these offences, the accused made no reply.
Garda O’Connor gave evidence that on February 20 this year, at 5.30pm, there was a report of a group of males drinking at Cois na hAbhainn and when the gardaí arrived they found Coss and a number of males in a highly intoxicated state in the street. They were abusive to the gardaí and to members of the public.
On the same date, the accused entered the Carry Out Off Licence on the Mountmellick Road in Portlaoise and attempted to conceal a bottle of Captain Morgan, but was prevented from doing so and left the store. He returned later and this time stole the bottle.
The accused also stole engine oil valued at €9.99 from the Campus Oil Filling Station, and on November 16, 2017, he stole detergent from the same store, valued at €6.99.
Garda Detective Michael O’Donovan next gave evidence, that during a search of the accused’s home a cannabis grinder was seized.
The accused made full admissions to gardaí in relation to this.
The accused also committed two thefts at Dunnes Stores, Mountmellick Road, Portlaoise, stealing a razor set valued at €30 on one occasion, and a blue fleece jacket worth €30 on another date.
He was also charged with threatening or abusive behaviour at the store, on November 16, 2017.
The accused was stopped driving at Lakeglen, Portlaoise, on November 29, where it was discovered that the tax disc was for another vehicle. The accused became highly threatening and abusive towards the garda, waving his arms in the air and refusing to remove himself from the scene.
He also said he would hit the garda, said Det O’Donovan.
And Sgt JJ Kirby gave evidence, that on January 24 this year, at Cardtown, Mountrath, the accused was found with a bucket of stolen diesel, to a value of €20.
The bucket had been stolen from a nearby farm and the accused was also found with a stolen key to a low loader.
The accused had a number of previous convictions, including four thefts and 25 public order offences.
Defence, Mr Barry Fitzgerald said the stolen items were of a small value and the accused had been fully cooperative with gardaí.
Mr Fitzgerald said that the accused, a father of four, had come from a difficult background, which hadn’t been explored before.
Remarked Judge Catherine Staines: “It has been well explored in probation reports over the years.”
Mr Fitzgerald went on to say that the accused, who has 13 siblings, left home at the age of 13 and had been in and out of the courts system.
Considering the underlying issues that needed to be addressed, there needed to be more excessive focus applied on helping the accused, said defence.
Mr Fitzgerald said that the accused had been released from prison in February, 2017, and experienced issues with his social welfare, so some of the theft offences had been committed out of desperation.
Mr Fitzgerald concluded by saying that there were certain issues beneath the accused’s bravado.
Judge Staines said she had every sympathy for the accused’s background, but he needed to stop drinking alcohol.
“A parent abusing alcohol is the worst possible thing for a child,” said the judge, imposing a six-month sentence.
Recognisance was fixed in the event of an appeal.