A 49-year-old man out on temporary release from prison found that his place on a drug rehabilitation programme was cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions and he fell back on his old ways within four days.
The accused man, Trevor O’Donoghue, ended up sentenced to six months for stealing alcohol and food. On top of that that he had an older case re-entered where there was a 12-month consecutive jail term hanging over him.
The re-entry of the suspended jail term was triggered by the defendant’s shoplifting on March 17. He went to Aldi at the Elysian building and stole beer and household items. He returned to a staff area a short time later and left through an emergency door with a crate of vodka.
O’Donoghue of no fixed address recently got a six-month jail term for those crimes.
To make matters worse for the accused he had a 12-month suspended jail term hanging over him and the state applied for that sentence to be reactivated at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
Prosecution barrister Donal O’Sullivan said that any element of the sentence to be reactivated would have to be consecutive to the six months.
Peter O’Flynn said that an organisation with whom the defendant had been attending in prison had paid for his place on a rehabilitation programme. However, when he got out on temporary release, it was not available to him because of the Coronavirus protocols.
Mr O’Flynn BL said O’Donoghue had no rehabilitation available to him and ended up committing the theft at the Aldi store and the burglary of their storeroom to take the vodka.
Judge Helen Boyle said, “He is quite old to be going in and out of prison. If he does not address his problems soon he will spend his whole life in prison.” The judge noted that O’Donoghue only had £10 sterling in his pocket when he got out of jail but she said that he did not give him a licence to take what he wanted.
In ordinary times the judge said the rehabilitation would have been available but that, quite properly, due to Covid-19 protocols the place was not offered to him and he was left to fend for himself.
“The fairest thing is to impose three months of the sentence consecutive to the six months he is serving,” Judge Boyle said.
O’Donoghue had been sentenced to three years with the third year suspended on condition that he would keep the peace and commit no offences on his release. That sentence was imposed on a charge of burglary at the house at Castlegreinne, Boreenmanna Road, Cork, on Sunday, June 11, 2017.