Portlaoise District Court
A man who ‘hoodwinked’ a vulnerable ill woman and took €6,500 by deception was warned he will be jailed if he doesn’t repay it along with €6,000 in compensation.
John Buckley, 66, of 2A Oak Valley, Summerhill, Mallow, Co Cork admitted the offence at a recent sitting of Portlaoise District Court.
He was charged with making gain by deception of €2,000 in Portlaoise on May 25, 2017 and a further €4,500 at Lyster Square, Portlaoise on October 6, 2017.
Garda Sergeant JJ Kirby told the court the money was obtained from a “vulnerable lady who was sick with cancer at the time” to purchase a house. He said the man, who had been introduced to the woman by a third party, had initially obtained €2,000 to pay for legal services before obtaining a further €12,000 for a deposit from the woman.
The sale didn’t go through and the woman was refunded €7,500. However, the deposit balance of €4,500 wasn’t repaid. In total the woman was left out of pocket €6,500.
Judge Michelle Finan noted the offence dated from 2017.
She asked: “Where is the money for the lady?”.
Solicitor Josephine Fitzpatrick said her client was on disability.
“He is going to have to borrow it from and family members are going to have to assist him,” she explained.
Judge Finan said: “This is a vulnerable woman he hoodwinked her, took her money and put it in his pocket,” he said.
Judge Finan ordered the man out of the courtroom to go and get money before the end of the court sittings.
When the man returned several hours later, Ms Fitzpatrick explained that he drove to Charleville and drove back with €1,000.
Judge Finan ordered that more money be repaid otherwise he faces jail.
“I want €1,000 every month until this is paid off to the injured party…He owes her €6,500 since 2007, why shouldn’t he go to prison,” she said..
Ms Fitzpatrick said her client was on disability and had an artificial limb.
Judge Finan said that was not relevant.
“You are going to have an artificial limb forever, that’s no excuse,” said the judge.
She asked where all his relations were and said: “you will not put this woman through anymore.”
She noted he was a “grown up man capable of taking money from this woman” who “came here today and said I have an artificial leg.
“I am not happy,” declared the judge.
She said the remaining €5,500 was to be paid in full by November 15.
“Every month thereafter €1,000 is to be paid,” she added.
The juge ordered that compensation of €6,000 be paid on top of the money the man owes.
“The court is going to take from you what you took from her,” she said.
However, she said the court wouldn’t just come in and steal from the defendant as he had done to his victim, it is going to give him time.
She remanded him on bail until November 15 when the €5,500 was to be repaid.
“If you don’t appear in court a warrant will be issued for your arrest,” said the judge.
She also set a date of January 23 for the payment of the compensation.
“€1,000 and then €1,000 every month thereafter until that money is paid to the lady,” said Judge Finan.
The justice said she viewed the offence as being on the very, very severest end of what the District Court can deal with. She said not only was it serious and planned.
“It was premeditated and it was done with stealth,” she said.
“That money will be paid every month to that lady or you will go to jail,” Judge Finan concluded.
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