Tuesday 6 December 2016

Celia Larkin: Absurdity of burglary payout is plain to see

It's the McCaugheys who should have been awarded damages, not the criminal who burgled their home, writes Celia Larkin

Published 19/02/2012 | 05:00

Short a few bob? Why not get sloshed, grab a screwdriver and break into some "wealthy, middle-class" (to quote Kevin Segrave, prosecuting counsel in the McCaughey case) guy's house?

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Sure, the worst that can happen is you'll get a pocket full of jewellery. And even if the "wealthy, middle-class" guy chases you off, you might be able to sue him for €175k if he happens to hurt you. Oh, and don't worry about a jail sentence, that'll be for the "wealthy, middle-class" guy to worry about if he happens to apprehend you. All you'll get is a suspended sentence, that is, once you're not a "wealthy middle-class" guy yourself.

The recent court case in which Martin McCaughey was charged with assault and endangerment for apprehending Daniel McCormack, pictured right, who burgled his house in the middle of the night, beggars belief. Thankfully, some semblance of sanity was restored when Justice Gerard Griffin directed the jury to return a verdict of not guilty on the charge of endangerment, and the jury, in its wisdom, found Mr McCaughey not guilty of assault.

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