A homeless man staying in a tent at the Lee Fields in Cork had his tent set on fire in January and a District Court judge said he had every sympathy for the man but had to jail him for persistent shoplifting.
Judge Olann Kelleher said that the shoplifting by Stephen McNamara, 44, was still going on up to a few days ago.
“There is a balance to be struck with people running shops,” Judge Kelleher said.
"I am sorry for the circumstances in which he finds himself but I have to impose a custodial sentence."
He imposed a total jail term of five months on Stephen McNamara.
Defence solicitor, Frank Buttimer, said the defendant recently secured a bed in Simon and he was accessing services provided by their homeless services.
“I got a bad beating,” McNamara said during a recent hearing at Cork District Court.
McNamara was before the court on multiple counts of shoplifting.
Referring to his time living in a tent, McNamara said recently: “Someone burned it to the ground.
"I got some burns as well. And I got a bad beating the other day.”
McNamara pleaded guilty to charges of stealing an umbrella at Penney’s on Patrick Street, Cork, on October 11 2019, shoplifting of €326 worth of razors, alcohol and batteries at Tesco in Wilton on November 12 2019, and stealing €265 worth of razors, electric toothbrush, pillows, Yops and cheesecake on November 11 2019 at Tesco on Paul Street.
He was also charged that on January 28 he stole clothing from Dunnes on Patrick Street, valued €138, and at TK Maxx on Cornmarket Street on January 18 he stole a €180 tent, and was carrying a knife.
Mr Buttimer said McNamara had a heroin addiction in recent years as a result of which he had lost contact with family members and had become homeless.