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Achill shoplifter given community service

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AN Achill man who shoplifted on two occasions, neither of which ‘were out of necessity’, has been warned by a District Court judge not to appear in court again or face a custodial sentence.
Eugene O’Malley (34), of Dookinella, Achill, appeared before last Wednesday’s sitting of Castlebar District Court where he pleaded guilty to both charges of theft, which took place on separate days in August last year.
The court heard that on August 7, 2017, gardaí on patrol in the Castlebar area responded to a call from Dunnes Stores where security guard had detained a man caught leaving the store with €36.82 worth of unpaid-for groceries.
On August 4, 2017, Mr O’Malley had left the same premises with €12.55 worth of groceries that were not paid for and not recovered.
Defending solictor Tom Walsh said his client, who has 28 previous convictions, suffers from epilepsy, that the incidents occurred after the death of his mother in February 2017 and that he can’t he explain his client’s behavior as the offences were ‘not out of necessity’.
The court heard that Mr O’Malley served nine weeks in prison for larceny in 2017 but was later released after an appeal, which reduced the sentence to a suspended one. Mr Walsh said his client, a father of one, has since tried to ‘turn his life around’  and has returned to gainful employment. Mr O’Malley had money in court to payback Dunnes Stores.
Subject to suitability, Judge Fiona Lydon sentenced Mr O’Malley to 200 hours of community service in lieu of four months’ imprisonment.

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