News Courts

Friday 19 September 2014

Taoiseach's nephew jailed for burglary, drugs and car theft

Published 15/02/2013 | 04:00

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Kevin Hastings (centre in red top) outside Westport Court House in Westport, Co Mayo.

A NEPHEW of Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been jailed for seven months for a litany of crimes including burglary, car theft and driving while under the influence of drugs.

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Kevin Hastings (18) of Rosbeg, Westport, Co Mayo – a talented rugby player who had a promising career ahead of him and had played for club and country – was sentenced at Westport Children's Court yesterday.

Hastings' parents, Tim and Marie Hastings, were in court yesterday.

Mrs Hastings, who is a sister of Mr Kenny, wept openly as the sentence was imposed.

The court heard from Hastings' solicitor James Ward that two years ago, when most of the incidents occurred, the young man had been "on a self-destructive path" as a result of his drug-taking, which eventually saw him seek help in St John of God in Dublin.

He had been taking valium and had given up rugby.

Impact

The court heard how losing his grandmother two years ago, with whom he was very close, had had a serious impact on him.

Mr Ward accepted that his client was now an adult in legal terms, but told the court: "In his own words he has said that sometimes he feels like a man and sometimes he feels like a 10-year-old boy."

The court heard that in February 2011, Hastings was charged with unlawful entry of a house and the theft of a small sum of money. On a later date that month he was charged with stealing two cans of cider from a local Centra.

On March 1, 2011, he was charged with entering another home of a local man and taking car keys. He then unlawfully took the car while under the influence of benzodiazepines.

He had no licence or insurance at the time.

Two months later, on May 13, 2011, he was charged with, once again, unlawfully entering a home, stealing car keys and taking the vehicle.

He had no licence or insurance at the time.

On the same date, he caused criminal damage to a wall of a local house and also stole a mountain bike.

While he remained out of trouble for close to a year, Hastings was charged with stealing a crate of Dutch Gold beer from Tesco in Swinford on May 3, 2012.

The court heard that on his own volition and instigation he had apologised to all his victims and had offered compensation where necessary.

His solicitor appealed to the court not to impose a custodial sentence, saying that his client had carried out the vast majority of the incidents when he was 15 and 16 but he was now facing into adult life.

Mr Ward admitted that his client had broken his bail conditions several times, to which Judge Mary Devins replied: "Over and over and over again."

The court heard that Hastings had been a pupil in a number of schools, including boarding schools, over the years but had not completed his schooling.

He has now enrolled to complete his leaving certificate and had been offered scholarships in Trinity and in Galway.

However, the judge said the probation report in the case did not make for good reading and she had no choice but to impose a custodial sentence.

She handed down a number of prison sentences to run concurrently which in total amounted to seven months imprisonment in St Patrick's Institution in Dublin and disqualified him from driving for four years.

She added that she hoped a period in St Patrick's would help him put his troubled past behind him.

"It might finalise matters and let you come out and resume what could be a very promising rugby career," she said.

"Kevin, I wish you well and hope we never have to see you in court again," added the judge.

In a statement through their solicitor, the Hastings family asked that their privacy be respected at this time.

Irish Independent

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