A Garda Sergeant prosecuting a case against a Ballincollig man who was rescued from sleeping rough on the streets of Birmingham by his father testified today that he had rarely witnessed such a positive transformation by anyone.
Jeremiah Hayes of 28 Tuairinglas, Greenfields, Ballincollig, County Cork, faced sentencing today at Cork Circuit Criminal Court arising out deception charges committed back in 2014.
Sergeant Micheál O’Regan said the defendant was now working and he had brought the full amount of compensation to court for the injured parties. Sgt. O’Regan said the €2,950 would be divided between the various victims.
In fairness to the accused, the sergeant said Hayes had addiction difficulties at the time and since then had been living rough in Birmingham.
“He came back to Cork and through the support of his father he presented to gardaí. It was done with the support of his family,” Sgt. O’Regan said.
Ben Shorten, defence barrister said the full amount of compensation was now available.
The sergeant said, “They never thought they would see the money again. He has gathered it all, which is quite rare.”
The sergeant said that there was a total transformation in the character of the accused from the time he had been sleeping rough in Birmingham and previous to that committing offences in Cork in 2014.
Asked how successful the rehabilitation had been, Sgt. O’Regan said, “I have rarely seen it so successful.”
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin imposed a fully suspended two-year sentence, noting the payment of compensation, the fact that he had not come to the attention of gardaí since 2014 and was now in employment.
At Cork Circuit Criminal Court Hayes, 34, pleaded guilty to five sample charges on a 19-count indictment.
The charges relate to signing cheques at shops and pubs for various amounts at a time when he knew the money was not in his account to meet those cheques. The offences date back to March 2014.
The five charges relate to dates in March 2014 at premises including Kilumney Inn, Kilbrittain foodstore (twice), Cottrell’s in Ballinhassig and Barryroe Co-op in Kilbrittain.
The charges refer to cheques for between €100 and €300 being signed when the defendant did not have the money in his account to meet the payments.
Mr Shorten explained previously, “He had been sleeping rough on the streets of Birmingham. But following a 20-week stay at Cuan Mhuire he turned his life around. His father brought him home from sleeping rough on the streets of Birmingham.”