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Skibb chipper owner found guilty of ‘keying’ car

May 17th, 2024 10:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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A MAN who denied ‘keying’ a car that was parked near his place of work was convicted of a criminal damage offence after a lengthy hearing at Skibbereen District Court.

Flor Murphy, solicitor, contested the case on behalf of John Desmond (60) of 56 The Moorings at Glencurragh Road in Skibbereen.

The accused denied that he damaged a car that was parked in Field’s car park on July 25th.

The owner of the car, Damien O’Sullivan, was called as a witness for the State. He said there was nothing wrong with his Mini Cooper when he parked it on the evening of July 24th, but when he returned to his car early the following morning, he noticed there were two 15-inch scratches on the driver’s side.

And he estimated the damage to be €454.

Gda Karen O’Flynn told the court that she examined 14 hours of CCTV footage and only saw three people in the vicinity of the Mini Cooper, two of which she ruled out of her investigation.

CCTV footage was shown of the accused leaving his place of work, shortly before 1am, with keys in his hand.

The footage, according to the garda, also showed the accused standing facing the driver’s side of the car, which was parked next to his jeep.

In a subsequent, cautioned interview with Gda O’Flynn and Gda James Crowley the accused viewed the CCTV footage and denied the criminal damage charge saying: ‘No. I can’t see what you are talking about.’

When asked why he turned away from his own jeep and faced the Mini Cooper, the accused said he had been searching for his house keys, which might have slipped out of his pocket.

When asked, during the interview, why his shoulders drop ‘as if you are keying the vehicle’, the accused replied: ‘I have nothing to say.’

In evidence in his own defence, Mr Desmond said he manages a local chipper and was locking up that night.

He denied being ‘next or near the Mini Cooper.’ And he told the court: ‘There is no way I would do that to another person’s car.’

The accused denied, in cross-examination by Insp Roisin O’Dea, that he had difficulties with other people parking in the spaces near the chipper.

Judge McNulty said there was clear evidence that the accused was in close proximity to the Mini Cooper where the damage was done.

From viewing the CCTV footage, the judge said he could see the accused ‘surprisingly and inexplicably turning to the side of the Mini Cooper as he approaches his own jeep.’

‘I am satisfied that at that moment the accused is facing on to where the mini was scraped.

‘The court has no reasonable doubt,’ said the judge before imposing a €500 fine.

Recognisances were fixed for an appeal.

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