Thursday, March 31, 2022

A CARLOW man received an 18-month prison sentence for a host of thefts in recent months at local stores. Stephen Farrell (29) of John Sweeney Park, Carlow pleaded guilty to a variety of theft offences at a sitting of Carlow District Court last week.

Sergeant Hud Kelly outlined that on 18 March last the defendant stole €1,250 worth of power tools from a car at Miller’s carpark, Tullow Road. The majority of stolen items were subsequently recovered by gardaí.

On 21 December last, the defendant entered Shaws on Tullow Street and took three bottles of aftershave worth €224. He was also found with a security tag cutter on the same date. Mr Farrell committed a similar theft at Shaws on 16 December, taking aftershave worth €208. “He dropped (the aftershave) outside the shop, breaking it,” said Sgt Kelly.

Mr Farrell would also commit three further thefts on that day. The defendant entered Sports Direct and took clothing worth €515. Clothing worth €183 was also taken from Next, along with a further €50 from Sports Direct.

Mr Farrell had 85 previous convictions. A probation report had been prepared for the court, while Mr Farrell had also written a letter to the court.

Defending solicitor Brendan O’Flaherty said his client had just spent seven weeks in custody. He noted the probation report went into detail about his client’s addiction to substances and his attempts to address his issues with the support of his family.

“He has been going around in circles since 2009,” said the solicitor. “He is telling (his family) he needs treatment. No-one can disagree with that.”

Speaking of the offences, Mr O’Flaherty said: “If they were not in broad daylight, they were easily detected … recorded by CCTV.” Mr O’Flaherty said his client wanted to get on with his sentence.

Addressing the court, Mr Farrell said: “I am sorry for everything I have done. I finally realise this life is not for me.”

Judge Geraldine Carthy noted the mitigation but said she had to take into the account the recidivist nature of offending and the impact of these thefts on businesses. “He has received the benefit of the doubt on a number of occasions,” she said. “A line is always drawn in the sand at some stage.”

Judge Carthy imposed a nine-month sentence for the Sports Direct theft on 16 December and a consecutive nine-month sentence for the theft of power tools.

“I do not do this lightly,” she said. “But I do feel Mr Farrell has had every opportunity afforded to him. I hope in this period you will receive the help you require … I can only wish you well. I hope this is the last time we meet in these circumstances.”

Mr O’Flaherty said he would not be seeking to lodge an appeal yet, to allow Mr Farrell to reflect on the sentence.





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