Circuit Court Judge Patrick Meghan
A 31 year-old man received an 18 months prison term with the final year suspended at Clonmel Circuit Court for having in his possession a television stolen from Castleview Tennis Club in Carrick-on-Suir.
Judge Patrick Meghan imposed this sentence on Trevor McCarthy with an address at 2 O’Callaghan’s Lane, Carrick-on-Suir who pleaded guilty at the court’s recent session to possessing the stolen 32 inch Sanyo television at 2 O’Callaghan’s Lane on July 19, 2018.
Sgt. Martin Houlihan told the court Gda. O’Halloran received a report of a burglary at Castleview Tennis Club in which the television was stolen.
After receiving information, he carried out a search of 2 O’Callaghan’s Lane and found the television in an upstairs bedroom where Mr McCarthy resided. The television was recovered and was in working condition.
When Mr McCarthy was arrested and interviewed he admitted acquiring the television from another person. It’s believed he didn’t carry out the burglary.
Sgt. Houlihan outlined that Mr McCarthy had 71 previous convictions ranging from drugs, theft, trespass and criminal damage offences to public order breaches.
When he handled this stolen television, he was on bail for assault, criminal damage and attempted robbery offences.
The court heard that Mr McCarthy originally pleaded not guilty to handling the stolen television and a trial commenced last November. But after the validity of the search warrant was upheld, Mr McCarthy changed his plea to guilty.
Defence barrister Suzanne Gorey said her client suffered from a long standing addiction to drugs, which began with taking cannabis at the age of 14 and progressed to abusing benzodiazepines and heroin.
When he committed this offence, he was renting a property with other people who suffered from drug addiction and he socialised with other addicts.
His life spiralled when he was in the throes of addiction.
The barrister explained the DPP consented for this case to be dealt with summarily in the district court but her client elected for a trial in the circuit court.
While an application made on behalf of her client in relation to the search warrant wasn’t upheld, she noted the judge acknowledged the point being argued by his defence was valid. She also noted the application was made before any evidence was heard in the trial.
She submitted that this was just the third time her client has come before the circuit court and almost half his previous convictions related to road traffic offences.
Ms Gorey added that Mr McCarthy has been serving a three year prison sentence since February last year and is due to be released in April, 2021.
She said her client has spent his time in prison wisely engaging with the Merchants Quay addiction services, working in the prison kitchen, completing Red Cross courses and attending school.
Mr McCarthy expressed an interest in attending residential treatment once he leaves prison and his addiction counsellor has advised him that a place will be available for him in the Coolmine Addiction Centre when he leaves prison.
He was drug free for the last 13 months. He was a plasterer by trade and his former employer indicated there will be work available for him when he was released from prison.
Ms Gorey also pointed out that when Mr McCarthy left prison, he planned to distance himself from his former group of friends when he returns to Carrick-on-Suir. He was accompanied in court by his father, who was very supportive of him.
She urged Judge Meghan not to impose a custodial sentence on her client for this offence in view of the “incredible strides” he has made in prison.
“He needs to see some light at the end of the tunnel. I would suggest a suspended sentence would meet the principal of deterrence.”
Judge Meghan said Mr McCarthy’s considerable number of previous convictions was an aggravating factor in this case as was the fact he was on bail when he committed this offence.
But he took into account his guilty plea, the recovery of the television and his efforts in prison to rehabilitate.
He said 18 months imprisonment was an appropriate sentence and he suspended the final year of the sentence.
Judge Meghan directed the remaining six months prison term run consecutively to the jail term Mr McCarthy is currently serving and that he remain under the guidance of the Probation Service for a year after his release from jail.