NewsCourts

Brothers who stole €8,000 while working as charity barmen avoid jail

Brothers who stole €8,000 while working as charity barmen avoid jail

A London financier and his university student brother who stole over €8,000 in cash while working as charity barmen at a music festival have been ordered to perform community service.

John McGinley (25) stole €5275 in cash, and his younger brother, Conal McGinley (22) stole €3370, while they were working behind the bar in Marlay Park, Dublin for Workers Beer Company, a charity organisation that raises funds at music festivals.

Both brothers, with an address at Naughan, Belturbet, Co Cavan, pleaded guilty to one count of theft at Marlay Park on July 8, 2016.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that wads of cash were found in the brothers' pockets, shoes and their car after they were observed by gardaí to be pocketing money while working behind the bar instead of putting it in the charity bucket.

John McGinley, who held a good job at a financial firm in London, had at the time fallen into the hands of loan sharks while gambling in the UK.

Conal McGinley was completing a degree in business at the time.

The court heard that John McGinley committed the offence because of this gambling debt, and Conal McGinley took the money to help his brother out. Both men made immediate admissions when interviewed by gardaí. They have no previous convictions.

Judge Cormac Quinn said both young men were highly educated, having attended third level education. They came from a good family, and had experienced stigma in their own community as a result of the offence.

He noted both men had also lost employment opportunities as a result of the matter.

Judge Quinn ordered that the brothers each participate in 180 hours community service, within the next year, in lieu of 11 months’ imprisonment.

The judge had originally ordered the community service in lieu of 12 months’ imprisonment but reduced this following a submission from Keith Spencer BL, for Conal McGinley that a 12-month sentence “would close doors” in terms of immigration, if either of the young men wished to travel to America or another country in the future.

Garda Ciaran McCoyne told Fergal Foley BL, prosecuting, that the men were observed pocketing the cash on the first day of the three-day music festival.

When arrested that evening, John McGinley had €4145 on his person and another €1130 in his car. Conal McGinley had €1860 in cash on his person and €1500 in his car.

Mark Lynam BL, defending John McGinley, said his client had had to give up his position with the London firm, which he worked hard at third level to achieve. He had since moved back to Ireland and was working again, “but not in his chosen field”.

Mr Lynam said John McGinley was extremely remorseful for his behaviour. “He acknowledges he has a flaw in his character which caused him to behave recklessly,” he said. “It was a clumsy, naïve and desperate attempt to get the money which was destined to fail.”

John McGinley, who also works as a defence force volunteer, has since attended Gambling Anonymous and paid back his debts legitimately with the help of his family.

Keith Spencer BL, defending Conal McGinley, submitted the younger man took the cash with the sole aim of helping his older brother. He said the man, who is in his final year of a business degree, had suffered within his community for what he had done. His future career was also in jeopardy, he added.

“This will essentially set his degree and education at naught,” he said. “The fall-out from this will be untold.”

A letter from the men's father was handed up to court in which he said he believed he had raised honest children.

He was “flabbergasted” at his sons' actions, the court heard.