Two men who bought a stolen Mercedes Benz before selling it on for €5,000 have avoided jail terms at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
David Bradshaw (33) and Patrick O'Dowd (30) told gardaí that they bought the vehicle for €6,000 from a woman named Alex who claimed it was her husband's car.
They said they tried to sell it on through a car dealership but were told there was finance outstanding on it. They then advertised it online before selling to an Irish man for €5,000.
The men told officers that two Polish men met them in a shopping centre car park on behalf of this man to buy the car. They were not able to provide any details in relation to “Alex”, the Irish buyer or the two men who ultimately bought the vehicle.
Bradshaw of Briarwood Park, Huntstown, Dublin 15, and O'Dowd of Ashton Close, Ashton Broc, Swords pleaded guilty to handling a stolen vehicle on November 15, 2013. The Director of Public Prosecutions accepted the plea on the basis that the men had been reckless as to whether the car was stolen.
Judge Martin Nolan said it seemed to him that at a certain point in the story the men should have been aware that there was “something dodgy” about the car and they should have done the honourable thing and reported it.
“They didn't. They had money invested in it and they wanted to re-coup it,” Judge Nolan said before he added that Garda Barry Duffy Finn has “doubts about their stories”.
He described it as “a nasty enough offence” but said it would be unfair to imprison them. He handed down a two and half year suspended sentence to each on condition that they each raise €5,000 in the next year to be passed on to the owner of the vehicle.
Gda Duffy Finn told Judge Nolan that it was “a long and complex investigation” and at no time did either Bradshaw or O'Dowd provide gardaí with information that would assist them in tracking down the vehicle.
“They had no information in relation to the woman they bought the car from. I found that very strange. They also had no information on the man they sold it on to or the men who collected it on his behalf, no names and no contact details,” Gda Duffy Finn said.
Gda Duffy Finn confirmed that at the time the vehicle was taken it was valued at €20,000.
The vehicle was never recovered and as the owner didn't have insurance on it, he is still paying back the loan he had on it.
Gda Duffy Finn said Bradshaw has 17 previous convictions for road traffic offences, stealing a car, theft and drink driving, while O'Dowd has two convictions for road traffic offences.