Ballyshannon court house
A Bundoran man who stole €100 from a Childline charity box while the Christmas panto Robin Hood was on has been sent to prison on his 27th birthday.
Jimmy Ward, with addresses at 15 Armada Cottages and Finner Halting Site, Bundoran, appeared at Ballyshannon District Court on Friday for sentencing in relation to a number of charges to which he pleaded guilty.
The court heard that he was already serving a five month sentence which is due to end in April.
Defence solicitor Gerry McGovern said that his client was "a victim of society since the day he was born". He "didn't get a proper education or the opportunity to gain skills" and he was involved in a serious car accident three years ago in which he suffered brain damage, Mr McGovern continued.
The solicitor thanked Judge Kevin Kilrane for all the chances he had given the defendant.
"What he really needs is one to one help for his addictions. Without it, he will end up alone and in prison, with little or no contact with his two children," Mr McGovern said.
Judge Kilrane commented, "I agree that his upbringing was very difficult but various efforts were made to assist him in the past, through suspended sentences and other incentives."
Referring to the last time the defendant came before him, Judge Kilrane said, "After he spent two weeks in prison, I released him on bail. Despite absolute vows that I would never see him again, within a week, he's at it again, worse than ever, breaking into houses and stealing from cars."
The defendant's mother Anne Ward, appealed to the judge for leniency. "Because of his brain damage, he's going around in circles. He doesn't know what he's doing, and prison isn't going to help him. If you give me your word, I promise you that I will get him help when he gets out of prison."
Judge Kilrane replied, "I agree that prison may not help him but it will help the public in this area."
He imposed the following penalties for the charges before the court: 5 months prison for theft of 18 litre bottles of Smirnoff vodka, valued at €504, from SuperValu, Donegal Town on May 17 last; 5 months consecutive for entering a vehicle at Sheil Hospital, Ballyshannon on December 4 last; 4 months consecutive for stealing a laptop worth €450 from Atlantic Point Apartments, Astoria Road, Bundoran on October 31 last; 4 months consecutive for stealing a lady's purse at the Model Arts Centre, Sligo on November 3 last; and 6 months consecutive for the theft of a charity box containing €100 for Childline from the Abbey Arts Centre, Ballyshannon while the pantomime Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood was on, an offence of which Judge Kilrane commented, "a meaner crime one can hardly imagine".
Convictions for the theft of a blanket worth €20 from Lidl, Ballinagh Road, Cavan on December 15 last and the theft of meat, clothes and other items to the value of €169 from Aldi, Dublin Road, Cavan on December 14 last were taken into consideration.
Judge Kilrane suspended the last 10 months of the total 24 months sentence on condition that the defendant avail of counselling while in prison, enter a bond to keep the peace when released, and continue counselling after his release. Judge Kilrane also backdated the start of the prison sentence to December 15 last, the date on which he entered his guilty plea at Sligo District Court.