Kitchen porter stole €60 from top Sligo restaurant

Published 10/06/2014 | 05:40

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Eala Bhan restaurant in Sligo, where the theft took place.

A 19-year-old kitchen porter has been convicted of stealing €60 from the tip jar of a top Sligo restaurant.

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James Doherty of Kiltykere, Grange had denied the charge at Sligo Court.

The court was shown CCTV of the alleged incident.

However, Judge Kevin Kilrane said he was satisfied Doherty, who had no previous convictions, took the money and fined him €300.

Recognisances were fixed in the event of an appeal.

Head waitress at Eala Bhan Eurika Povilaityte said she had counted €180 in notes in the tip jar on the night of August 22nd 2013.

There was also some loose change and it all came to €184.05.

The tip jar was located beside the cash register and at the end of the night Doherty came out of the kitchen and walked over to the counter.

He shook the jar and asked what tips there were before walking off.

The witness said she didn't see Doherty take any of the money.

She said Doherty had no reason to be hanging around the cash register.

After Doherty left she counted the money again and noticed that €60 was missing.

She was certain there had been €180 in the jar and went to check the CCTV cameras.

Defending solicitor Aine Kilfeather said it was Doherty's case that he took the money out of the jar to count it before putting the €120 back.

Tarina Hyland told the court Doherty usually came out of the kitchen at the end of the night to talk to the waitresses.

Doherty and a friend who was also present were talking about going out drinking.

The witness, who was cleaning glasses, asked the head waitress how much was made in tips and was told €180.

A short while later she saw the head waitress with a worried look and she said there was €60 missing from the tip jar.

Restaurant owner Anthony Gray said he was contacted by the head waitress and he subsequently viewed CCTV footage.

After viewing it twice he called Doherty back to the restaurant.

The witness said he put it to Doherty that it was clear from the footage he was seen putting money from his left hand to his right and then towards his back pocket.

Doherty, who denied the allegation, was sacked for gross misconduct the next day.

Doherty told the court he had been seven months working in the restaurant prior to the incident.

He took the tips from the jar and counted the money remarking was that all there was before putting it back.

Doherty said there was €120 in the jar and denied taking any money.

Doherty agreed with Inspector Paul Kilcoyne that during an interview with Gardai he said he had received less in tips when one of the owners left.

Judge Kilrane said the CCTV showed Doherty was trying to confuse the head waitress by holding the tip jar up close to her face.

He had money in his left hand and then slipped it to his right which is partly closed.

His right hand then goes out of sight.

Doherty saw that the head waitress was looking at the books and he started messing about with the tip jar.

"I don't think initially he wanted to steal. Cash of that nature would temp a saint.

"He took it out because he had established a plan at that stage. He went to confuse her.

"I'm satisfied beyond any doubt," said the Judge.

Sligo Champion

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