Tuesday 20 March 2018

Four years for burglary of Chief State Solicitor’s office

Sonya McLean

A man who burgled the Chief State Solicitor’s office after falling over a wall when looking for a drug clinic has been sentenced to four years with two suspended.

Paul Byrne (34) later jumped out of a first floor window when a security guard caught him rummaging through one of the staff’s desks.

He had taken €100 after prising open the drawer with a screwdriver.

Byrne also raided another house in Ballsbridge in Dublin 4, almost 18 months later when on bail for the earlier burglary.

He stole two computers, assorted jewellery, luggage, €600 in cash, perfume and aftershave after using a garden trowel to prise open a patio door and ransacking the house.

Byrne of Hollybrook Road, Clontarf, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two charges of burglary and production of a screwdriver on March 6, 2010 and December 6, 2011.

He has 59 previous convictions for theft, criminal damage and burglary.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring sentenced him to a total of four years in consecutive sentences but suspended the final two on condition Byrne gets treatment for his drug addiction.

“You are 34 years old and should know better now,” the judge said after she accepted evidence that Byrne is a different person when he is not on drugs.

Garda Laura Byrne told Vincent Heneghan BL, prosecuting, that the security guard for the Chief State Solicitor office on Little Ship Street was doing a tour of the building when he spotted Byrne.

He saw that the intruder had a screwdriver and started to “retreat”. Byrne gave chase for a few minutes but left the office shortly afterwards.

Gda Byrne said Byrne was identified after gardai viewed CCTV footage. He was arrested and made immediate admissions.

She agreed with Marie Torrens BL, defending, that Byrne was a “completely different person” when he was not using drugs.

Gda Byrne accepted that Byrne had taken a lot of prescription medication that night and had told gardai he was looking for his drug clinic when he fell off a wall into the grounds of the Chief State Solicitor’s office.

She further accepted that Byrne got “such a fright” when he saw the security guard that he made his escape by jumping out of the window.

Ms Torrens said her client had worked as a roofer and a labourer before he started using drugs.

She said Byrne’s partner had given birth to a baby two years ago who died shortly afterwards and the woman is now seriously ill.

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