Cashel Court House
A father who directed his two teenage children in a shoplifting spree has been described as acting like ‘Fagan’ from Oliver Twist.
The 53 year-old man appeared at a recent sitting of Cashel District Court charged with theft. His then 15 year old son and 16 year old daughter were also charged with theft, following thefts of whiskey and food from shops in Clonmel and Cashel.
None of the defendants can be named because two of them are juveniles.
The shoplifting incidents occurred on November 22, 2016.
The first incident occurred when the father and son entered Lidl in Cashel. They took six bottles of Bushmills whiskey worth €132 and left without paying. The property was not recovered. Both were identified from CCTV.
On the same day the father, son and daughter went in to SuperValu in Cashel. The males took four bottles of Bushmills whiskey, valued at €88, and the female took items from the cosmetics aisle. None of the items were recovered. Again, CCTV was used to identify all three defendants.
A third incident took place on this date, in Clonmel. Gardaí were called to the Iceland food store where the manager showed them CCTV of the teenage girl entering the store with her father. The man seemed to be telling her what to put into a bag. She then left the bag in an aisle and they both left the shop.
A few minutes later the teenage son entered the store, accompanied by his father and sister. He picked up the bag of items and they all left the store with the bag.
Guilty pleas were entered to all charges.
Sgt Carol O’Leary told the court that the father had 43 previous convictions, including a number for theft, road traffic offences and public order matters. The two teenagers had no previous convictions recorded against them.
Solicitor Aidan Leahy said his client, the father of the teenagers, was anxious to compensate the shops. He had tried to have the matter dealt with in 2016 but he was in custody serving a sentence. The imprisonment has brought home his responsibilities, Mr Leahy said.
The daughter has a child of her own and is to be married later this year; the son was younger than 16 at the time, the solicitor said.
Mr Leahy said the father had not come to the attention of the gardaí since his release from prison. While he is anxious to compensate the shops he doesn’t have the money as his family are all on social welfare.
Mr Leahy acknowledged his client has “a very bad history,” and he had explained to him it didn’t look good for him to have his children involved in these incidents. The father hoped not to receive a custodial sentence. He asked for a short adjournment to gather compensation. He hoped not to receive a custodial sentence.
“You point out this goes back in time but your client has come with nothing,” Judge Finn pointed out.
Mr Leahy said this had only come to court recently and his client thought when he was released from prison it wouldn’t be raised again.
Judge Finn said he was concerned that Mr Leahy’s client had been “acting in a Fagan like role.” The man “has apparently no scruples or morals. He is prepared for his children to be used, for them to become criminals.”
The judge said the man had “nothing to offer the court.”
He said he saw no reason to criminalise the two children for the rest of their lives as they were acting under instructions. But he warned that the incident will have a consequence for them in the future. Judge Finn dismissed the charges under the Probation of Offenders Act section 1(2) for both teenagers.
The judge adjourned the case against the father to December and if he remains compliant with the law “he might stand a chance.”
He told the man that using his children to commit crime was not appropriate, that they needed guidance from their father.