A 32-year-old man who felt that Paddy Power’s destroyed his life caused €17,500 worth of damage to one of their outlets by smashing twelve 55-inch TV screens was sentenced to two years in jail today.
Another reason given by Philip Barry, aged 32, for the damage he caused was so that he would be sent to prison because at the time he had nowhere to live.
Garda Aidan Noonan said that at Cork Circuit Criminal Court that within three hours of Barry smashing up the property at Paddy Power’s on Cornmarket Street, Cork, on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, he gave himself up to gardaí and said that he had caused the damage.
Judge Brian O’Callaghan made it a condition of the suspension of the last year of the sentence that Philip Barry would stay away from all betting offices in Ireland in perpetuity.
Judge O’Callaghan described it as a most serious charge.
“There were other genuine patrons on the premises as well and their wellbeing was put at risk by these actions. The peripheral risk to other people cannot be ignored by this court.
“The nature of this business cannot influence in any manner the view of this court. Paddy Power’s – like anyone else – are entitled to operate business in a controlled and peaceful manner without attacks from people like you.
“It was an intentional act on your part to commit an offence so that you could get into prison and no longer be homeless. The prison service do not exist to look after homeless people. They are there to put criminals in prison. They are not there to provide social support services.
“But the court cannot condone a genuine reason for criminal activity to get accommodation you were unable to get otherwise and the probation service vindicates what you say.”
Backdating the sentence to June 5, 2019, the judge said the accused would have to comply with the directions of the probation service in prison and post-release for a further period of three years.
“You are in last chance saloon with the probation service," the judge said.
Allison McCarthy, defence barrister, said the accused was out of trouble for a substantial period of time.
After offences in his early life, he committed no crimes between 2009 and 2018.
Ms McCarthy said that it showed the effect of secure accommodation could have and that this could be taken as an indication for the future when the defendant would be staying in secure accommodation with a relative.
When this case first came to court the defendant was asked in his bail application, “Have you a problem with Paddy Power’s?”
The defendant who is of no fixed address, replied, “Yeah, I gambled. They destroyed most of my life.”
Philip Barry said this was not his normal behaviour and that it was totally out of character for him.
At another stage in his bail application last June, the young man said, “I had nothing to live for, I had no family, no friends. I did it to try and get some help. I didn’t want to be on the streets. I just lost it.”