Sunday 15 September 2019

Man who stole 20 bottles of spirits from VIP bar in Copper Face Jack's gets suspended sentence

Copper Face Jacks on Dublin’s Harcourt Street
Copper Face Jacks on Dublin’s Harcourt Street

Jessica Magee and Seán McCárthaigh

A serial burglar who stole 20 bottles of spirits from the VIP bar in Copper Face Jack’s nightclub in Dublin has been given a two-year suspended jail term.

Jason Whelan (30) a father of two from Woodhazel Terrace, Ballymun had pleaded guilty to the charge of stealing the alcohol with a value of €900 from the well-known nightclub on Harcourt Street on May 27, 2017 when arraigned before Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last year.

The court heard Whelan had been caught taking the bottles of spirits from the nightclub’s upstairs Premier Bar on CCTV footage. The goods were never recovered.

Judge Melanie Greally said Whelan was motivated by obtaining money in support of his long-established drug addiction.

The court heard that 43 of his 91 previous conviction are for burglaries.

Since committing the offence in Copper Face Jack’s Whelan has taken unprecedented steps to address his addiction which had led Judge Greally to releasing him on bail to attend a treatment centre in Coolmine last year.

The judge said she had received a very favourable report on Whelan from the Probation Service and accepted he was “highly motivated” and seeking employment.

Although no urine analysis results were available to the court, Karl Monaghan BL, for Whelan, said his client maintained that he was now drug free and had found a job and was due to start work in a sports club next week.

“He is moving on a different road,” Mr Monaghan said.

At an earlier hearing last year, the court heard Whelan had been using hash and prescribed tablets since the age of 11 and had progressed to taking heroin in his twenties in Mountjoy Prison.

In a letter to the judge last year, Whelan said he was ashamed and deeply sorry for stealing from people and for the hurt he'd caused his family. “I've reassessed my life,” he said. “I know it's a process, but I really am trying.”

“There's always hope for change. I really want to be an honest member of society, a good dad to my children, to work and earn an honest living. I don't want to be the person who steals off others to buy drugs,” wrote Whelan.

Judge Greally said an aggravating factor in the case was Whelan’s large number of previous convictions but she noted he had not come to the attention of the authorities since his release from prison and was making efforts to rehabilitate himself.

Sentencing Whelan Judge Greally said she took into account his guilty plea, the remorse he had shown and the apology he had offered as well as the significant efforts he was making at rehabilitation.

She said she would suspend the sentence for a period of two years on condition that Whelan bound himself to the peace and placed himself under the supervision of the Probation Service for a period of 12 months.

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