A Portlaoise man who disturbed a sleeping family by breaking into their tent at the Electric Picnic and stealing their property has been jailed for ten months.
At last week's district court, Kenneth Kelly (31), 22 O’Moore Place, Portlaoise, was charged with a number of counts of possession of stolen property, and trespass.
Sgt JJ Kirby gave evidence that at the Electric Picnic on September 2, 2018, the accused was observed acting in a suspicious manner. He was found to not have a valid ticket to be at the festival and his rucksack was searched, revealing stolen property including phones, watches and clothing.
A number of people identified the items as theirs and the accused was arrested.
The accused had 80 previous convictions, including 23 thefts.
Sgt Kirby said the accused was a chronic heroin addict.
One of the injured parties, Mr Anthony Curran, was present in court and gave evidence.
He said he and his family were asleep in their tent when his wife woke him to say that there was someone in the tent.
Mr Curran said he saw the accused, who said he was sorry that he was in the wrong tent. The accused left the tent and Mr Curran discovered his wallet was gone, as was jewellery. He went out looking for the accused and saw that the security staff had detained him. Mr Curran said he recognised the accused as the man in his tent from the black hat he was wearing.
The witness told the court that his second son woke up crying on the night. He said that the family used to travel around the country camping, but since the incident his son won’t go as he’s afraid “the bad man will come back”.
He said his wife was nervous, but the accused had not entered the sleeping area of the tent on the night.
Defence, Ms Louise Troy said the court was very familiar with Kelly, who had a very difficult upbringing and a very entrenched addition.
She said a lot of his offending was connected to his drug habit, but he has since been attending with CADS.
Judge Catherine Staines noted that the accused had committed six separate thefts from tents, with the tents representing the dwellings of the people staying there.
She said he had invaded the tent belonging to Mr Curran and must face the consequences. The accused was sentenced to ten months in prison, with recognisance fixed for an appeal.