'Mean-spirited' crime saw patient's phone robbed while in hospital

'Mean-spirited' crime saw patient's phone robbed while in hospital

A mean-spirited crime saw a man snatch a mobile phone from the bedside locker of a hospital patient while she slept and now the culprit has been jailed for six months. Picture: iStock

A mean-spirited crime saw a man snatch a mobile phone from the bedside locker of a hospital patient while she slept and now the culprit has been jailed for six months.

Noting that the accused, Roy O’Callaghan, had 256 previous convictions including 68 for theft, Judge Olann Kelleher said, “I am sure this case is up there with the worst of them. It was so mean-spirited.

“We all know how important it is to have your phone to keep in contact with home when you are in hospital.” 

Sergeant Gearóid Davis said that the crime was seen on an examination of CCTV of the ward at the accident and emergency unit of Cork University Hospital and Roy O’Callaghan of Bridgefield Close, Bishopstown, Cork, was identified. It occurred at 4 am on September 27 2019 when the €500 phone was stolen from the bedside locker of a patient.

Frank Buttimer, solicitor, said that a mitigating factor in the case was that as a result of the garda investigation Roy O’Callaghan made full admissions in relation to the theft and the phone was recovered within two hours and returned to the patient.

Mr Buttimer said, “The offence was a nasty offence from the point of view of where it occurred. He has been anxious to plead guilty to it.

“It was an opportunistic but unpleasant offence. He was in the hospital due to the death of his sister. He was in that room opportunistically and he was seen doing it. 

"He was traced within one hour and the phone was recovered within two hours with the assistance of his mother and returned to the injured party so there was no impact of a long-term nature.

“No doubt it discommoded and upset the patient. I cannot step behind that fact.” 

Roy O’Callaghan is presently serving a four-year jail sentence with the last year suspended and this six-month sentence will run concurrently.

Mr Buttimer said the defendant was getting on well in prison. 

“He has conducted himself well in terms of rehabilitation. He has made progress,” the solicitor said.

Mr Buttimer said it was accepted that the accused had a particularly bad record with a lot of convictions for being drunk and threatening, and a large number of thefts to do with feeding his alcohol problem.

O’Callaghan intends to continue to abstain from alcohol when he is eventually released from prison and to live at home with his mother, Mr Buttimer said.

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