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Judge comments on ‘very common' gambling problems with young men

June 22nd, 2017 11:51 AM

By Southern Star Team

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A DISTRICT Court Judge has remarked on the insidious nature of addiction, when dealing with a case of a 26-year-old Clonakilty man who faced several charges of theft from the Inchydoney Lodge & Spa while working as a barman there.

Judge James McNulty said at a sitting of Clonakilty District Court that ‘gambling is sadly a very common, and increasingly common, problem, particularly among young men and what makes it so dangerous is the insidious nature of the addiction.’ 

Brian O’Donovan of 11 An Tobairin, Clonakilty pleaded guilty to 17 separate incidents of petty theft from the hotel.

Insp Fergal Foley told the court that on November 5th last year a complaint had been made about the defendant who was working as a barman at a function on the night in question. 

Following checks on the hotel’s CCTV and an examination of till receipts, management identified 17 separate incidents of petty theft, including handing out the wrong change, giving out free drinks and not registering sales on the till. Insp Foley said the total loss to the hotel was €300.

‘In essence he didn’t benefit himself and when questioned about the offences he admitted it to management and lost his job as a consequence,’ said Insp Foley.

Solicitor Jim Brooks said his client had a gambling problem and following the incident he immediately set about solving his problems.

‘He wrote to his employers first thing and apologised for his conduct and in the meantime he attended his local doctor who referred him to an addiction counsellor,’ said Mr Brooks.

Mr Brooks also added his client comes from a good family and is very well thought of and he handed in a testimonial from the secretary of his local GAA club.

‘He lost his job there but since then he has found a new job in Cork and he likes it and the his future is looking bright. 

‘This was totally out of character for him and his parents are present in court and they are keeping an eye on him and he is fully conducting himself. He has showed huge remorse what he did and I would ask the court to give him an opportunity to prove himself over a period of time,’ said Mr Brooks.

Judge James McNulty said it is hard to get good employment if one has a conviction for theft and acknowledged that the defendant has paid compensation to Mr O’Dowd, owner of the Inchydoney Lodge & Spa.

‘He’s 26 years old and not 16 and his parents don’t need to come to court. 

‘It’s not their problem and it’s not their business to be monitoring how he spends his money,’ said Judge McNulty.

However, Judge McNulty said the court does not intend to be harsh and that the defendant ticked all the boxes as he has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty at the first instance, made amends to the injured party, offered a full some apology and has taken remedial steps regarding his gambling problem.

Judge McNulty said the court would treat the defendant leniently and would not convict him and discharged him on a Probation Bond without supervision for three years.

‘If he wants to reoffend then the gardaí can bring him back to court and if it happens, all bets are off and we will proceed to conviction and sentencing. The solution is abstinence.’

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