A 34-YEAR-old man with 264 previous convictions, including 62 for theft, has been sentenced to six months in prison for a number of offences that he committed before Christmas.
Anthony Coffey with an address at 13 Hillcrest, Skibbereen pleaded guilty at Clonakilty District Court to trespassing, theft and being drunk in a public place on three occasions.
Sgt Paul Kelly told the court that the first incident occurred on December 5th last when the defendant entered Hourihanes Sport on North Street in Skibbereen.
‘He selected two items and apparently the door alarm went off and gardaí were called.’ said Sgt Kelly.
‘They met him on the street and there was a strong smell of alcohol from him and he was unsure of what happened,’ he added.
‘No items were taken and he was arrested for being drunk in a public place.’
The following day Gda James Crowley from Skibbereen Garda Station received a call about an alleged theft at Aldi and met with the store manager.
‘He told him that a customer left the store without paying for items and CCTV showed the defendant removing a tag and putting a bottle of vodka and three cans of mixers in a bag and then left the store.’
Gda Crowley was able to identify Mr Coffey and he was arrested for the offence but the property was not recovered.
The court then heard that on Saturday December 10th at 5.15am gardaí in Skibbereen received a call from a female who said she was in fear after seeing a male in the hallway of the apartment complex she lives in on Bridge Street.
‘Gardaí arrived and found the defendant asleep against a wall and the front door of the complex was open. He was highly drunk and was missing one shoe and was arrested and taken to Clonakilty Garda Station.’
The following day the defendant was arrested again after being found drunk in a public place and taken to Clonakilty Garda Station.
Sgt Kelly said that on Monday December 12th, Gda Donal McCormack received a call from a dental practice in Clonakilty who reported that a man had locked himself in the toilets and had a bottle of vodka on him.
‘When Gda McCormack arrived at the scene he met the defendant leaving the property, who was unable to walk unaided and was slurring his words and was then arrested,’ the garda explained.
The court heard that the defendant was also facing two other charges for his non-appearance in court on December 16th last.
Sgt Kelly told Judge James McNulty that Mr Coffey has 264 previous convictions, including 108 for public order offences and 62 for theft.
Solicitor Colette McCarthy said her client, who is single and is originally a native of Tralee, has a severe alcohol addiction problem, which hasn’t been treated.
‘He is hopelessly addicted but wants to find work and he has a sister in Skibbereen who he stays with,’ said Ms McCarthy, who added that all his thefts related to securing alcohol.
‘He’s hugely apologetic and he wishes to pay Aldi back €30 for the drinks he stole.’
However, Judge James McNulty said he was going to prison and told him to keep the money.
‘Aldi won’t collapse with the loss of €30 and he’ll need the money in prison for toiletries,’ said Judge McNulty.
He sentenced him to six months in prison for the thefts from Aldi and six months in prison on the trespass charge, with both sentences to run concurrently.
He also sentenced him to three months on each of the charges for failing to appear in court, but suspended them for two years under the usual conditions.
He also directed him to place himself under the supervision of the probation services and enter a probation bond for 12 months.
‘The court expects the probation service to visit him in prison in the hope they might help him to secure accommodation when he is released and to encourage him to get treatment for his alcoholism.’
He took into consideration three drunk-in-public charges.
Recognisances in the event of an appeal were fixed in the defendant’s own bond of €100 cash, as well as one independent surety of €900, with a third of that to be provided in cash. Judge McNulty said the surety would need to be approved by the court and that the defendant’s sister would not be acceptable.