18 Aug 2022

Jail for Tipperary man who put on balaclava instead of face mask and broke shop window

Clonmel District Court

Clonmel District Court

A young Tipperary man who put on a balaclava in an off-licence has been sent to jail for eight months.

James Burke of 105 Crann Ard, Fethard Road, Clonmel was before Clonmel District Court on burglary and criminal damage charges.

Sergeant Carol O’Leary said that a burglary took place at an unoccupied house owned by the Simon Community at Raheen Court, Clonmel between November 12 and 26, 2019.

The back kitchen window was broken and the defendant gained entry, but nothing was taken.

The defendant’s blood was found and identified on the glass during the garda investigation.

Sgt O’Leary said that on February 19, 2021, the defendant entered Eldon’s off-licence in Clonmel with no mask on. When he was asked to put on a mask, he put on a balaclava and then hit the store’s window, causing €500 worth of damage.

He was later identified on CCTV by gardaí.

Sgt O’Leary said the defendant has seven previous convictions which included criminal damage, misuse of drugs and assault offences.

Defence solicitor Eamon Hayes said his client’s record is not disputed.

In relation to the Raheen Court incident, the solicitor said his client had been put out of the family home and had nowhere to stay.

In relation to the incident at Eldon’s off-licence, his client had consumed alcohol and wanted more.

His client became angered when service was refused and subsequently damaged the window.

His client, who was in court on the eve of turning 23-years-old, acknowledges that he has had difficulties with alcohol since a young age, having started drinking at the age of 12.

His client’s difficulties deteriorated after his parents separated when he was 16-years-old.

“Alcohol has a stronger hold on him than he has on it,” the solicitor said.

The defendant would be willing to seek treatment and his parents, who were both in court with him, would support him.

His father would also take him back into the family home, Mr Hayes continued, which would give him “stability and a chance to accumulate compensation”.

Judge Terence Finn said putting on a balaclava in the off-licence has an “element of criminality”.

He sentenced the defendant to a total of eights months of imprisonment.

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