Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Eimear Dodd

A man who pleaded guilty to trespassing at a property the day before a safe containing €40,000 was stolen has been handed a four-month sentence.

Graham Campion (29) of Harmonstown Road, Artane, Dublin 5, pleaded guilty to one count of trespass at an address in Sutton Cross, Sutton on December 9, 2013. He has 84 previous convictions, most of which postdate this incident.

Garda Brian Kelly told Eoghan Cole BL, prosecuting, that a neighbour noticed a person looking into the windows of the residential property and acting suspiciously at around lunchtime on the day in question.

The house was burgled the following day and a safe containing €40,000 and a child’s piggy bank containing €500 was stolen. The court heard the Campion denies any involvement in the burglary.

Campion was identified as the person trespassing at the property on December 9 from CCTV. When interviewed, he accepted that the person in the CCTV footage looked like him.

The stolen money was never recovered. Mr Cole told the court that victim impact statements were submitted, but these mainly focus on the burglary. He noted that the property owners had concerns about security owing to the presence of strangers on or near their property.

Gda Kelly agreed with Mr Cole that Campion’s guilty plea has brought the complainants some closure. The court heard the case was delayed in part due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He also agreed with Keith Spencer BL, defending, that his client denies any involvement in the burglary of the property. Gda Kelly accepted that the defendant’s convictions up to 2013 are road traffic offences.

The court heard Campion has only one Circuit Court conviction for endangerment, for which he is currently serving a four-year-and-six-month sentence and is due for release in January 2025.

Mr Spencer told the court that his client was 18 or 19 at the time of this offence. His parents separated when he was young and his mother raised him and his siblings.

Campion had a serious accident in 2017 when he came off motorbike and nearly lost his leg. His substance abuse issues arose from this, the court heard, but Campion is now drug-free, and his physical rehabilitation is going well.

Campion is on an enhanced prisoner regime and is attending school while in custody. He is the father of two children.

Mr Spencer said his client has always insisted he was not involved in the burglary. The court heard Campion says he had called to the house and was knocking on the door.

Mr Spencer asked the court not to extend his client’s time in custody.

Judge Orla Crowe said it was “unusual to have a case of this antiquity come before the court” but noted “the idea of people looking through windows constitutes a terrible invasion of privacy”.

Judge Crowe noted Campion is doing well in custody. She said there were “unusual and unique circumstances” to this case and she would not prolong Campion’s period in custody in order to incentivise him to continue his efforts towards rehabilitation. She handed him a four-month prison sentence backdated to May 4 last, when he entered a guilty plea.

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