Sunday 16 June 2019

No extra time for bike theft on bail

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Ruaidhrí Giblin

A man with 73 previous convictions committed while on bail will not face any extra jail time for burglary and stealing a bicycle, despite an appeal by prosecutors.

Darragh O'Hare (27), with a last address at Hamlet Square, in Balbriggan, pleaded guilty to theft of a bicycle and burglary of a separate property the following day in Balbriggan, in May 2017.

He was sentenced at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 28 months imprisonment by Judge Martin Nolan on April 22, 2018, having spent five months in custody on remand.

The Director of Public Prosecutions unsuccessfully sought a review of O'Hare's sentence on grounds that it was 'unduly lenient"' The Court of Appeal held that the sentence was "lenient" but not so far outside the norm that it required intervention.

Giving judgment, Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy said O'Hare stole a bicycle worth €150 from a residential property in Balbriggan on May 16, 2017, which was subsequently recovered.

The following day, O'Hare entered a house in Balbriggan where he was confronted by the occupier holding her handbag.

O'Hare told the woman that the handbag had been stolen and he was looking to return it. He asked her repeatedly if she had a husband and if there were any men in the house.

As the door was closed, he ceased trying to gain access. Some items were missing from the handbag worth €47.

O'Hare was arrested and made admission to the theft of the bicycle. He subsequently pleaded guilty to both offences on his first appearance in the Circuit Court.

Ms Justice Kennedy said O'Hare had 91 previous convictions, including four for burglaries, three for theft and one for handling stolen property. She said 73 of his previous convictions were committed while he was on bail for other offences.

He had been on bail for dangerous driving and unauthorised use of a vehicle when he stole the bicycle and entered the woman's house.

The sentencing judge said O'Hare had difficulties with drugs in the past, as well as other personal difficulties, but a letter from Fr Peter McVerry, provided to the Circuit Court, described his present status as drug free.

The Circuit Court judge fixed four years as the appropriate headline sentence and said it would have been considerably less, if O'Hare had retreated immediately upon being confronted by the woman.

Ms Justice Kennedy said burglary was serious and this offence impacted significantly on the injured party.

She said the offences were committed while on bail and the present offences were aggravated by some of O'Hare's previous convictions.

Ms Justice Kennedy, who sat with Mr Justice John Edwards and Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy, said the sentence was lenient but not so lenient to justify intervention by the Court of Appeal.

She said the sentence fell within the discretionary range available to the sentencing judge, though at the very outer limits of that range. The appeal was therefore dismissed.

Fingal Independent