Judge refuses bail for pair accused of burglary spree

Gardaí tell court eldest of duo would 'continue' to steal to fuel a Xanax habit as they opposed applications for release from both defence teams

Two men who have been charged in relation to a burglary spree across West Limerick and North Kerry at the weekend were refused bail at a special sitting in Tralee District Court on Monday, after the court heard gardaí were concerned they might get rid of stolen goods that have not yet been recovered.

Patrick Roche of 27 Woodview, Tralee and Martin O'Sullivan with addresses at 12b Market St, Tralee, and Athea, Co Limerick, appeared before Judge Angela Ní Chondúin, each charged with 11 counts of burglary.

Gardaí believe Mr Roche, who was on bail at the time of the alleged offences, committed the crimes to 'fuel a drug habit', namely Xanax tablets, the court heard.

Judge Ní Chondúin refused bail in each case after gardaí said they believed Mr Roche would be likely to commit offences if granted bail and that both would dispose of property which might not yet have been recovered.

The defendants were charged with burglaries at Stack's Butchers in Moyvane village on June 1; with an attempted break-in at Carey's Electrical Rewinds, Listowel, in the early hours of June 1; Burglary at Collin's Bar, Athea, on May 31; Mullane's Garage, Athea, Co Limerick on June 1, where they are alleged to have reversed a car into the premises to gain entry; Broderick's Shop, New St, Abbeyfeale, where they are alleged to have smashed the bottom window of the front door; Kathleen's Food Store, Convent St, Abbeyfeale, from which they are alleged to have stolen €4,000-worth of cigarettes after smashing a window between 4am and 5am on June 2; The Athea United Clubhouse on June 2, from which it is alleged they took a garden strimmer; the GAA pitch in Athea, from which two pitchforks were allegedly stolen by the men; two homes in Lower Athea, from which a lawnmower, TV and electrical equipment were taken; as well as a lifeguard's hut in Glin, from which it is alleged they stole cleaning equipment between June 1 and 2.

Detective Garda Jason Mitchell and Det Gda Emma Mullane gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution in relation to the offences alleged to have occurred in the Newcastle West and Listowel garda districts, respectively. Martin O'Sullivan made no reply to the charges when they were put to him, they said.

Martin O'Sullivan's solicitor Barbara Liston applied for bail for her client, but Garda Inspector William Wallace objected on the basis of what he described as the nature of the evidence, the likelihood of a significant sentence on conviction and a history of failing to appear in answer to charges.

"We also have evidence for the potential of very serious offences associated with this gentleman," Insp Wallace told the court.

Ms Liston said her 25-year-old client was willing to abide by all conditions of bail, adding that he lives with his mother and is her sole carer.

Gardaí also objected to bail in relation to father-of-one Patrick Roche (43) for similar reasons, saying he was likely to commit offences if bailed and that he was already on bail when apprehended in relation to the charges before the court.

Det Garda Gerry O'Sullivan of Newcastle West and Det Garda Emma Mullane of the Listowel district gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution in relation to Mr Roche, who made no reply to any of the charges.

Mr Roche's solicitor, Fionnuala Moloney, applied for bail but gardaí objected to the application.

"Gardaí would have grave concerns that this man, if given bail, will commit more offences," Det O'Sullivan told the court. Asked what evidence he had for this, Det O'Sullivan said the charges related to a 'crime spree' of more than three days' duration.

"Do you accept he is unlikely to abscond? Is there any evidence that he has absconded before?" Ms Moloney asked the detective, who replied 'I don't believe so'.

Det O'Sullivan accepted Mr Roche did not have a history of failing to 'turn up' in court and that there was no evidence he had not co-operated with gardaí.

"It is my understanding there is a certain usage of Xanax tablets. It is a strong belief of investigating members that he would continue to commit crime to fuel that habit," Insp Wallace told the court.

Mr Roche told the court he was now off Xanax 'a few days' and was anxious to access the Valentia Ward in University Hospital Kerry for rehabilitation, undertaking to abide by bail terms.

"Have you committed a crime before, having given commitments that you would not commit crime?" the Insp asked. Mr Roche replied that he had.

The pair were remanded in custody to June 7 at Listowel District Court.