Wednesday 20 June 2018

'Not very clever criminal' found hiding behind cardboard box in home of man he agreed to stay away from

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Stock picture

Ruaidhrí Giblin

An inept criminal who agreed to stay away from a man whose home he has repeatedly broken into has had a 12 month suspended sentence activated after being found hiding behind a cardboard box in the same injured party's storage room last April.

Christopher McCarthy (29), of no fixed abode but with an address at Ashbury, Roscrea, Co Tipperary, was described as a “homeless traveller” and one of 18 children with a long standing alcohol problem and 133 previous convictions.

He had pleaded guilty at Nenagh Circuit Criminal Court to criminal damage and obstruction of a garda at the home of a Mr Cole, Grove Villas in Roscrea and was jailed for five years. He had broken into the same injured party's home on two previous occasions in May 2013.

McCarthy successfully appealed his sentence in June 2016 and was accordingly given a three year sentence with the final 12 months suspended on condition he behave, stay away from the injured party as well as Green Street, Grove Street and the Crescent in Roscrea. He had undertaken to be so bound.

However, McCarthy had his 12 month suspended sentence activated in full today after entering the same injured party's home last April where he was found hiding behind a cardboard box by gardaí.

The original sentencing judge noted that it was McCarthy's first time in the Circuit Court for sentence and that he was “not a very clever criminal”. He also noted that McCarthy was on lock up for 23 hours a day while in custody on remand, that he was genuine in his contrition and genuine in having some kind of insight into the suffering he had caused to the injured party Mr. Cole.

The sentencing judge was mindful of what the gardaí had said about McCarthy namely, that he was somebody who caused the gardaí no trouble except when he was drinking. The prosecuting garda had given evidence to the effect that McCarthy had a very difficult background and wrongly believed that he was still welcome at his family home. However there was no room for him there.

Activating his suspended sentence today, Mr Justice George Birmingham said it was “absolutely clear” that the chance that had been given to McCarthy had not been taken. He said McCarthy's breach of the conditions was “egregious” involving the same injured party and entry into the same dwelling.

Mr Justice Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice John Edwards and Mr Justice John Hedigan, said the Court of Appeal was “left with no option” but to activate McCarthy's suspended sentence and “activate it in full”.

It was backdated to October 20, the date on which an eight month District Court sentence for trespass, the triggering offence, expired.

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