A Portlaoise man appealing a six-month sentence for stealing over €5,000 of tools has had his case adjourned to June, on condition he engages with ongoing treatment for his addiction issues and pays compensation.
Before Portlaoise Circuit Court was Jason Brophy (23), Clonroosk View, Portlaoise, appealing a six-month sentence for theft.
State solicitor, Mr Donal Dunne gave evidence that on November 21, 2017, a van was broken into by three males and tools worth €5,370 were taken.
Most of the property was eventually recovered, but some of it was not returned.
On April 5, 2017, the accused was detected in Lyster Square, Portlaoise, in possession of a knife, for which he had no valid reason to have.
On May 16, 2017, at Clonroosk View, Portlaoise, a stolen caravan was recovered and the accused made admissions to handling this stolen property.
On June 24, 2017, at a festival in Ballyroan, the accused abused the gardaí and spat at them.
And on July 24, 2018, he was found in possession of €5 of cannabis.
The accused received a six-month sentence in Portlaoise District Court for the theft of the tools, with the other offences taken into consideration.
The accused had 18 previous convictions.
During the recent appeal against this sentence, defence barrister, Ms Geraldine Fitzpatrick said the accused’s drug taking over the years was one of the causes of his criminal behaviour.
Ms Fitzpatrick said that the accused was a former boxer who had abused his body with drugs, but he had since completed residential treatment.
Judge Keenan Johnson remarked that the six months imposed in the district court was a very benign sentence.
Judge Johnson said that the accused had also been in possession of a stolen caravan, so this behaviour seemed to be a habit for him.
The judge asked what restitution could be done by the accused.
Ms Fitzpatrick said that the accused had already given €340 to his solicitor.
She said that he did not have a job, nor a clear plan to gather compensation.
She said he was a work in progress and the residential programme he had completed was a huge step for him.
Ms Fitzpatrick asked the court to allow him to engage with his next stage of treatment.
Judge Johnson said the accused had a very bad record and the six-month sentence was very fair.
“It could have been much more significant,” said Judge Johnson.
Adjourning the appeal to June 19 next, Judge Johnson said that the appellant had to engage with his ongoing treatment for his addiction issues.
He directed that the €340 already paid go to the injured party, with a total of €2,000 to be paid in weekly installments of €30.
Judge Johnson said that the theft of tools was way too prevalent and the offence merited a prison sentence, however he ruled that he would wait and see how the appellant progressed before finalising the matter.
He said that he might increase the original sentence, but suspend it.
The matter was adjourned to June 19, with the accused entering into a peace bond to keep the peace and remain drug free until then.
A curfew of 8am to 8pm was amended to allow the accused to attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings.