A REVELLER who helped uproot a parking meter from the ground has claimed he was trying to drag his friends away from it.
Carl Sullivan (30) was on his way home after a few drinks when he and two other men pulled the parking meter from the ground.
The concrete base was still attached.
The defendant claimed that he was trying to stop his acquaintances from damaging the parking meter, and he was dragging them away.
Judge Hugh O'Donnell ordered Sullivan to pay €370 in compensation to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and adjourned sentencing to a date in December.
The defendant, with an address at McCabe Villas in Booterstown, was found guilty before Dun Laoghaire District Court of criminal damage.
The incident took place at Cross Avenue in Blackrock on March 3 last.
An eye-witness told Dun Laoghaire court that he came out of his house around 10pm and saw three men repeatedly pulling and dragging at a council parking meter.
He said he was unable to identify the culprits, but he rang the gardai who arrived on the scene a short time later.
Sergeant Jonathan O'Brien said that when he came around the corner he saw three men standing at a parking meter, which he saw fall to the ground.
Sgt O'Brien said one of the men ran away but he stopped and spoke to Sullivan and the other individual.
The sergeant said that Sullivan denied he damaged the parking meter, telling him: "I did nothing. Prove it."
The council said it cost €370 plus vat to replace the parking meter.
In his evidence, Sullivan claimed he was walking home to Booterstown with two men and a woman when the men started pulling at the parking meter.
Sullivan claimed he never went near the meter, and was asking his friends to stop and trying to drag them back from it.
He also claimed that he told the others to "give it over" but accepted he did not think of calling gardai.
Judge O'Donnell found Sullivan guilty of criminal damage, saying he had no doubt he was involved.
The court heard that Sullivan has 22 previous convictions, mostly for road traffic matters.
Defence lawyer Kim Moloney said that Sullivan, an unemployed warehouse operative, previously had a heroin habit but has been clean for some time.
Ms Moloney said the defendant has been in a relationship for nearly three years and has a one year old son. Sullivan also helps to care for his partner's four-year-old child.
Sullivan complained when he was told by Judge O'Donnell to pay for the full damage, claiming he should only pay for one third of it.