Wednesday 13 December 2017

Man who stole Joe Schmidt’s Heineken Cup medal remanded

Joe Schmidt
Joe Schmidt

ONE of the trio who burgled Irish Rugby Coach Joe Schmidt's house and stole one of his Heineken Cup Winners medals has been remanded on bail for sentencing by Tallaght Court.

Judge Anthony Halpin heard that the gold Heineken Cup medal Fergus Donegan stole was recovered "in pristine condition".

Donegan's defence lawyer, Michael Hennessy said his client "could have taken a punt and fought the case"

The burglary happened last  December on the day when Schmidt's Leinster were playing Clermont-Auvergne in France in the Heineken Cup.

Donegan, (46),at Nutgrove Crescent, Rathfarnham, pleaded guilty to burglary at an address at Braemor Park in Churchtown, and to possession of black leather gloves and a torch for use in theft at an address at Orwell Court, Churchtown, both on December 9 last.

Two months ago, Donegan's co-accused, Christy Connors (20), Green Street, Wexford, pleaded guilty to burglary and was sentenced to 200 hours community service with six months detention in default.

Donegan was before Judge Halpin  for hearing.

Detective-Garda Terry Brosnan told the court that on the above date he had been on patrol with Garda Niall Russell at Orwell Court, Braemor Road, when they came across three males acting suspiciously. He said the the three males got into a Ford Fiesta. Det-Gda Brosnan said he and his colleague went over to the car and spoke to the men and then asked to search the car.

He said they found a gold Heineken Cup winners medal, 15 pounds sterling, two screwdrivers, two pairs of gloves a piece of hard green plastic for blocking doors.

He said he suspected that some of the items had been taken in a burglary and it transpired they had been taken in a burglary from the injured partys house while he had been away "on work-related activities".

He said all the items were recovered and in response to the judge accepted that they had been "in pristine condition".

Det-Gda Brosnan said Donegan had 50 previous convictions. He said Donegan had five for theft but none for burglary.

Under cross-examination from Mr Hennessy, Det-Gda Brosnan accepted that Donegan had not entered the house and had been under the influence of alcohol at the time.

Mr Hennessy put it to Det-Gda Brosnan that his client had not taken the medal from the house. Det-Gda Brosnan said the medal had been recovered in the car.

Mr Hennessy said the items had been recovered in pristine condition and added that Donegan had absolutely no idea what the medal meant. He said Donegan had no previous for burglary. He said Donegan's wife is due to have their 10th child on St Patrick's Day.

He said Donegan has a serious drink problem and had worked from the age of 16 until 34 when he had damaged his hand when recovering a firework from a child.

Mr Hennessy said: "He could have taken a punt and fought the case instead he had fronted up and taken responsibility for his involvement in the common design".

Noting the common design, Judge Halpin said he would remand Donegan on continuing bail to October 8 next for a probation report and for sentencing

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