A Castlebar man found by Gardaí coming out of a wardrobe in a Castlebar house with white socks on his hands and wearing two jackets belonging to a resident of the house told the local district court he was only in the house to check if everything was okay after claiming to observe a man running away from the house.
Mark Maughan of 14, Northbrook, Castlebar argued he was given permission by one of the couple living in the house to stay there that night after having a row with his wife.
Maughan told the court that he first called to his cousin’s house at the Grove when he saw someone fleeing from the house of Marek Mikes, a Czech national, who Maughan described as ‘a good friend of ours’.
He said he went inside a broken window to check on things and had to take his socks off because the glass had ‘irritated’ his ankles and went upstairs to ‘check if everything was alright’.
He said he would have rang Mr Mikes but he had no credit. He told the court that Mr Mikes’ girlfriend had earlier given him permission to stay in the house. They had been in a group with Mr Mikes and his girlfriend playing cards in Balla before Maughan and his cousin left.
Sergeant Gary Walsh said that, responding with Garda Seán Fleming to a report of a man breaking a window and entering at 22, The Grove, Castlebar on August 2 last, he found Maughan coming out of a wardrope wearing two jackets belonging to an occupant and having his own socks over his hands.
He said that he subsequently found 40 Marlboro Lights and cannabis resin worth €52.50 on Maughan.
In response to some comments from Sergeant Walsh, defending solicitor James Warde asked was the sergeant implying that Mr Mikes, who was going to give evidence in favour of Maughan, was being put under undue pressure to do so. Sergeant Walsh said he couldn’t go into evidence on that.
Under questioning Marek Mikes said he wasn’t there as a result of a threat and that Maughan had permission to stay. He added that the window had been broken earlier in the night when Mr Mikes himself accidentally smashed it.
Under questioning from Inspector Fran Nicholson as to why it was only in his second statement that Mikes said that Mark Maughan had permission to stay, Mr Mikes denied that he had come under any pressure from the Maughan family.
Judge Mary Devins said that the evidence of Mikes was ‘completely and utterly untruthful’.
Dismissing Maughan’s evidence similarly, Judge Devins said the lies told to the court were ‘at least unedifying, at worst sinister’.
She convicted Maughan, an unemployed father of three, of theft and drugs possession. He was sentenced to three months for theft and fined a total of €600 for both offences.