Five-year bur­glary con­vic­tion up­held


Fingal Independent - - NEWS -

A five year prison sen­tence im­posed on a man for his fifti­eth bur­glary con­vic­tion could not be said to be too se­vere, the Court of Ap­peal has stated.

Christo­pher Cum­mins (37), of Cherry Park, River Val­ley, Swords, had pleaded guilty to bur­glary of a health store in Lif­fey Val­ley Shop­ping Cen­tre on Oc­to­ber 31, 2015.

He was sen­tenced at Dublin Cir­cuit Crim­i­nal Court to five years im­pris­on­ment by Judge Pat McCar­tan on July 21, 2016.

Cum­mins lost an ap­peal against his sen­tence with the Court of Ap­peal stat­ing that a more se­vere sen­tence ‘might well have been up­held’.

Giv­ing judg­ment, Mr Jus­tice Ge­orge Birm­ing­ham said that when a cer­tain sum of money was ac­cu­mu­lated in the health store, it was moved to a safe in the back of­fice. On the day in ques­tion, it seems there were a ‘num­ber of staff er­rors’.

The safe wasn’t locked and when the em­ployee in­volved went out to leave rub­bish in the back yard, he took a phone call leav­ing the back door open. The staff mem­ber be­came con­cerned when he saw a man leav­ing hur­riedly from the door. He re­ported that the safe was open and empty.

The to­tal amount taken was €12,000. That sum has not been re­cov­ered and the in­sur­ance com­pany de­clined to meet the claim be­cause of the breach of se­cu­rity pro­to­col.

Cum­mins had 139 pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions in­clud­ing 49 for bur­glary, 10 of which were dealt with in the Cir­cuit Court.

His most re­cent con­vic­tion had been recorded in May 2014, a bur­glary con­vic­tion for which he re­ceived a four year sen­tence. He was re­leased from that sen­tence the day be­fore he com­mit­ted this of­fence. The court heard he was some­one who was known to gardai as a drug user.

Fr Peter McVerry S. J submitted a let­ter to the Cir­cuit Court stat­ing that once Cum­mins was re­leased from prison sup­port would be avail­able for him.

The sen­tenc­ing judge re­marked that the fre­quency of such re­ports com­ing be­fore the courts di­min­ished their value.

Cum­mins’ lawyers crit­i­cised the Cir­cuit Court judge for his ap­proach to the Fr Peter McVerry doc­u­men­ta­tion, Mr Jus­tice Birm­ing­ham said. He was crit­i­cised for not giv­ing suf­fi­cient at­ten­tion to it but rather be­ing dis­mis­sive of the pro­posal which would have seen Cum­mins tak­ing part in a drug re­lapse preven­tion pro­gramme.

Mr Jus­tice Birm­ing­ham said the ‘stark re­al­ity’ of this case was that it was a very se­ri­ous of­fence in­volv­ing the theft of a sig­nif­i­cant sum of money by a per­son with an ‘ap­palling’ pre­vi­ous record.

Mr Jus­tice Birm­ing­ham, who sat with Mr Jus­tice Alan Ma­hon and Mr Jus­tice John Hedi­gan, said the Court of Ap­peal could not see how the sen­tence im­posed could be sug­gested to be un­duly se­vere.

In­deed, a more se­vere sen­tence ‘might well have been up­held’ and the court was ‘firmly of the view’, that the ap­peal be dis­missed.

The Courts of Crim­i­nal Jus­tice com­plex.

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