Don’t waste life in prison - judge

The Sligo Champion - - NEWS -

“YOU have a great fu­ture in front of you. Don’t throw it away in prison. I urge you don’t de­stroy your life and you will in prison,” Judge Kevin Kil­rane said to a young man he sen­tenced to 21 months in prison with 14 months sus­pended with con­di­tions at Sligo Dis­trict Court on Thursday.

Ear­lier, the court heard from the de­fen­dant’s step-fa­ther who said he couldn’t un­der­stand why Ivan Gethins, de­scribed as be­ing tal­ented with horses and a com­pet­i­tive sheep shearer had spi­ralled into a life of crime.

Gethins (27) with an ad­dress at Gar­avogue Vil­las was be­fore the court on a number of charges.

These in­cluded tres­pass at Sligo Gaol on March 25 th 2018, crim­i­nal dam­age at Sligo Garda sta­tion on April 16 2018, tres­pass at the Blue La­goon on June 11 th 2018, bur­glary at Fow­ley’s of Drom­a­hair on Novem­ber 28th 2017, theft from Heatons on March 5 th 2018 and with not hav­ing in­sur­ance, a driv­ing li­cence and dan­ger­ous driv­ing on three sep­a­rate dates, 21st Novem­ber 201, 21st Fe­bru­ary 2018 and 25 th Fe­bru­ary 2018. Gethjns was fur­ther charged with crim­i­nal dam­age and pub­lic or­der on Septem­ber 28th 2018 and han­dling stolen prop­erty on May 19 th 2016.

Judge Kil­rane said that the facts speak for them­selves and en­quired as to whether Gethins had any pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions.

Insepc­tor Donal Sweeney told the court the 27-year-old had a number of pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions in­clud­ing for theft and not hav­ing in­sur­ance.

De­fend­ing so­lic­i­tor Mr Mark Mul­laney told the judge the de­fen­dant wished to hand in a let­ter ad­dressed to him which were Gethins’s own words set­ting out an un­der­stand­ing of why he had taken a wrong turn in his life.

Mr Mul­laney added that a com­pre­hen­sive psy­chi­atric re­port was car­ried out on his client and it em­pha­sised in full his past psy­chi­atric his­tory and gave in­sight into his ad­dic­tion dif­fi­cul­ties which also in­cluded un­re­solved be­reave­ment is­sues.

He said that Gethins wants to turn his life around af­ter a cus­to­dial sen­tence and Mr Mul­laney then told the court he would like to call on one wit­ness, his step-fa­ther, Ge­orge Downey.

Mr Downey told the judge the back­ground to how he got to know Ivan. He said the way he is now is not the way he had planned for him.

Mr Mul­laney put it to Mr Downey what he thought made Gethins go off the rails and he replied that he couldn’t un­der­stand it, adding that if he lives to be 100 he prob­a­bly never would un­der­stand what hap­pened to Ivan.

He said that he ‘ loved him to bits’ and that on his re­lease he was not go­ing to go back on the path he was on, adding that he would go straight to gar­daí.

Mr Downey said that Ivan was bril­liant with horses and had en­tered sheep shear­ing com­pe­ti­tions and that he has plenty of work for him on in a small farm of land he owns as he is a di­a­betic and un­able to work it him­self.

Judge Kil­rane thanked Mr Downey for his back­ground on Gethins, which he de­scribed as very help­ful.

He said the de­fen­dant’s be­hav­iour in this case as one of where he was given a chance that he would re-of­fend while on bail and said his be­hav­iour was ir­ra­tional and he was not sure why he does this.

He said that his ac­tions and the ef­fect on other peo­ple and the harm done meant that he has to serve a sig­nif­i­cant pe­riod.

He ex­plained that he was go­ing to struc­ture sen­tenc­ing in a way that it gives hope to Gethins that it will give him a chance with re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion when he comes out of prison.

He sen­tenced him to 21 months in prison and sus­pended the last 14 months.

There were a number of terms of sus­pen­sion.

These in­cluded that while Gethins is in prison that he avails of all the treat­ment for his ad­dic­tions or oth­er­wise and that on his re­lease fortwith he at­tends ad­dic­tion ser­vices.

Gethins was also or­dered not to re-of­fend and to sign on at Sligo Garda Sta­tion once a month.

These terms of sus­pen­sion are for a pe­riod of 2 years post re­lease.

Mr Mul­laney told the judge that he cer­tainly struc­tured sen­tenc­ing in such a crafted way that it gives his client a lot of hope and the end of the tun­nel.

The sen­tence was back­dated to when Gethins had his bail re­voked on Septem­ber 27 th 2018.

Judge Kil­rane told Gethins that he was very im­pressed with Mr Downey and from what he could gather the de­fen­dant had a dif­fi­cult re­la­tion­ship with his own fa­ther.

He said Gethins dis­played a de­fi­ance of the court in that he would go on to re-of­fend on the same day af­ter ap­pear­ing in court of the next day.

He said to Gethins that it ap­peared he was a tal­ented young man ac­cord­ing to Mr Downey re­gard­ing look­ing af­ter to horses.

He told Gethins that he has a great fu­ture in front of him and not to throw it away by spend­ing it in prison.

He urged him not to de­stroy his life by be­ing in prison. “If you breach the terms you will go back to prison for the 21 months and serve ev­ery day of it,” he warned.


Sen­tenc­ing hear­ing took place be­fore Judge Kevin Kil­rane at Sligo Dis­trict Court sit­ting at the court­house at Teel­ing Street.

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