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health hazard Chef who went shoplifting after testing positive for Covid-19 jailed for four months

Judge said chef was wandering the streets like "loaded gun" when he was supposed to be in quarantine

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Wesley Geraghty. Picture: Irish Photo Desk

Wesley Geraghty. Picture: Irish Photo Desk

Wesley Geraghty. Picture: Irish Photo Desk

A chef, who was like a “loaded gun” shoplifting in Dublin knowing he had tested positive for coronavirus, has been jailed for four months.

Wesley Geraghty, 43, with a hostel address at Mary’s Abbey, Dublin 7, was also given a €200 fine after he pleaded guilty to theft and leaving his residence in breach of the Health Act.

Garda Sergeant William Quirke told Judge Miriam Walsh that Geraghty, who had 97 prior criminal convictions, was arrested at Marks & Spencer on Grafton Street where a security guard stopped him taking €450 worth of cosmetics on Friday.

He admitted to gardai he had Covid-19 and was directed to return to his isolation hostel and told he would be dealt with at a later stage.

However, he went to Boots on Grafton Street that day and attempted to steal €320 worth of cosmetics but was caught again.

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4/4/2021
Wesley Geraghty, 43yrs, with a hostel address at Mary's Abbey, Dublin 7, pictured leaving Tallaght District Court after he appeared before the court. Pic: Paddy Cummins

4/4/2021 Wesley Geraghty, 43yrs, with a hostel address at Mary's Abbey, Dublin 7, pictured leaving Tallaght District Court after he appeared before the court. Pic: Paddy Cummins

4/4/2021 Wesley Geraghty, 43yrs, with a hostel address at Mary's Abbey, Dublin 7, pictured leaving Tallaght District Court after he appeared before the court. Pic: Paddy Cummins

The store had to shut down for “deep cleaning” after it was established he had coronavirus.

Gardai carried out enquiries with the HSE and Geraghty’s accommodation and he should have stayed in his hostel, the sergeant told the court.

He had been tested positive on Thursday evening.

The sergeant said Geraghty appeared to go out the following morning “and his sole purpose, knowing he was Covid positive, was to commit thefts”. It was accepted that he was easy to deal with on arrest.

The Health Act charge carried a possible six-month sentence and a €2500 fine.

Pleading for leniency, the defence said Geraghty was a qualified chef who fell into drug addiction. He was remorseful and realised he was facing jail.

Sentencing, Judge Walsh said Geraghty was wandering around the streets when he was supposed to be in quarantine. He was a “loaded gun basically in relation to the Health Act”, she remarked.

The case was transferred from Dublin District Court in the Criminal Courts of Justice to a special weekend sitting of Tallaght District Court. It takes cases that require extra precautions for defendants with Covid-19, or who have been exposed to the virus, or have symptoms.

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