desperate | 

Homeless father (31) who shoplifted tent to live in gets suspended sentence

Ciaran O’Reilly pleaded guilty to stealing a tent from Aldi in Celbridge, Co Kildare

Andrew PhelanIndependent.ie

A desperate homeless man who shoplifted a tent to live in has been spared jail.

Father-of-one Ciaran O’Reilly (31) had nowhere to stay when he stole the tent from a supermarket, a court heard.

Judge David McHugh gave him a six-month suspended sentence.

O’Reilly, of no fixed address at the time, pleaded guilty to stealing a tent from Aldi in Celbridge, Co Kildare on September 9 last year.

Blanchardstown District Court heard the accused went to the shop and took a tent valued at €200.

He left without paying and the property was not recovered by the shop. O’Reilly was later identified on CCTV and charged.

Separately, on August 11 last year, O’Reilly and a woman were in the same shop when they placed items worth €60 into a bag, left without paying and got into a white Skoda saloon.

O’Reilly was later identified on CCTV. He was in a car that was stopped on the Maynooth Road on October 16 last year, when he had €91 worth of goods that had been stolen from Aldi.

These goods were recovered and returned to the shop.

At the time of the offences, O’Reilly had family difficulties and fell into drug addiction and subsequent homelessness, his lawyer said.

“He took the tent to live in,” he told the court.

O’Reilly was no longer homeless and was dealing with his drug addiction, the lawyer said. Things were improving for him and he was on an “upward trajectory”.

The judge said there were owners of the property who the accused had stolen from. They were down that money and they had employees and taxes to pay to the state, he said.

“What does he say about that?” the judge asked.

The defence lawyer said O’Reilly was unemployed and in receipt of social welfare. He did not have any money with him in court but was aware there were victims and could get the money together if given time, he said.

Instead, the judge imposed a six-month sentence, suspended for two years on condition the accused keeps the peace and is of good behaviour.

“He can go on his upward trajectory,” the judge told the court, but “if he otherwise slips” the six-month sentence could be activated.


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