Guilty plea | 

Dublin garda broke into colleague's locker and stole cash from lunchbox

Paul Arkins (33) refused to volunteer his fingerprints, but a “positive match” was established after he was arrested

Paul Arkins

Andrew Phelan

A garda broke into a colleague’s locker at a Dublin station and stole cash from a lunchbox inside it, a court has heard.

Paul Arkins (33) refused to volunteer his fingerprints when a “very large investigation” into the theft was launched, but a “positive match” was established after he was arrested.

The case against him was adjourned at Dublin District Court for a victim impact report.

Arkins, with an address at Portland Row in the north inner city, pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to a locker and theft of €43 from it.

The court heard the incident happened at Swords garda station on April 11, 2019.

The accused was a serving member of the gardai at the time and broke into a locker, removing €43 in cash that was contained in a lunchbox.

Detective Garda Caitriona Beirne said the cash that was removed belonged to an injured party and was not recovered. CCTV footage from the garda station car park was viewed and it was believed the camera had been “manipulated,” the court heard.

Defence barrister Donal Pattison said there was no evidence the accused manipulated the CCTV.

There had been a “very large investigation” with a number of books of disclosure of evidence received by the defence and Mr Pattison said he had not seen any evidence of this. The only charges against his client were theft and criminal damage, he said.

Det Gda Beirne said an engineer had examined the CCTV. The garda agreed there was no evidence that Arkins manipulated the CCTV, but said he was on his own in the public office where the controls were located.

The locker was technically examined and a number of gardai were fingerprinted, with no match. Arkins refused to volunteer his prints but after his arrest "a positive match" was taken from the locker.

The accused made no admissions when he was later re-arrested, detained and interviewed.

The court heard Arkins had prior convictions; for trespass and assaulting a woman.

Mr Pattison said he needed some time before he could address the court in mitigation. Victim impact evidence would also need to be canvassed, the court heard.

Judge Smyth adjourned the case to a date next month.

Arkins was remanded on continuing bail.

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