A DISTRICT Court Judge told a 57-year-old Wexford man that he made a ‘bad error of judgement’ when he took €100 from an ATM in Clonakilty which had been left behind by its owner.
Judge James McNulty made the comment when dealing with the case of Ray Holland of Kilcavan Upper, Tara Hill, Gorey, Co Wexford who pleaded guilty to the theft charges at a recent sitting of Clonakilty District Court.
Sgt Paul Kelly told the court that on July 28th 2017 the injured party had gone to the Bank of Ireland ATM on Pearse Street.
‘She had selected the amount to withdraw and took out her card but forgot to take the money as it was raining that day,’ said Sgt Kelly.
‘Then a man and a woman approached the ATM and the defendant was caught on CCTV taking the money from the machine.’
Following an investigation gardaí arrested him and he made an admission and returned the €100 he had taken. The court was told the defendant has one previous conviction.
Solicitor Eamonn Fleming said his client – who was recently made redundant as a sales director of a cosmetic company – was passing through Clonakilty that day with his partner and had no involvement with the injured party.
‘It was a wet day and he saw the money in the ATM and made a wrong decision. He hung around for a bit and then went into his car,’ said Mr Fleming.
‘At the end of the day he should have brought the money into the bank as it happened during banking hours and he had that option.’
He added that his client co-operated with gardaí once they traced him.
‘A defence of abandonment was not open to him and he did make a wrong call that day and he should have known better.’
Judge James McNulty said it was ‘a lesson for us all when we find money’ and said this was ‘a significant blight on the defendant’s character.’
‘This is his first truly criminal offence and it involves fraud and would not look good on any CV from 17 to 57. He made a bad error of judgement,’ said Judge McNulty, who dismissed the charge under the Probation Act.