A 65-year-old Englishman who lectures in anatomy in the Ukraine was caught breaking into a shop in Cork but he came up with the ‘eccentric’ defence of spotting two men burgling and going in after them to prevent the crime.
Judge Olann Kelleher convicted Stephen Haynes of carrying out the crime in Cork city.
Witnesses saw him smashing in a window of the shop and he was caught leaving with tobacco and cigarettes.
Frank Buttimer called the defendant to give evidence and said he would be offering an eccentric defence.
Haynes said he saw two men wearing dark clothes similar to his own on the day and he went in after them to stop them carrying out a burglary.
No other witness saw the two men described by Haynes but they did see him breaking in. He said the two men dropped cigarettes and tobacco and he picked it up outside and put it in his pocket outside the Centra on St. Patrick’s Street.
The judge was told that he signed an admission to the crime last March in the guard’s notebook. Haynes asked to see the notebook, examined the signature and said it was not his.
Judge Kelleher convicted him of the crime.
Mr Buttimer said the British Consulate had been in contact with him about Stephen Haynes who has lectured in anatomy in the Ukraine.
Mr Buttimer said the Consulate accepted that the accused was “totally well looked after in Cork prison.”
Before he was remanded in custody on March 17 he was sleeping in a tent in the city.
He was also convicted of stealing vegan mayonnaise from another shop in Cork city. Thirdly he was convicted of causing damage to the walls of a garda cell which had to be extensively cleaned as a result of his actions.
Judge Kelleher imposed an overall sentence of three months backdated to March 17. He said that with remission the accused would be released soon and suggested that he should use his remaining time in custody to liaise with the British Consulate.
The judge asked the 65-year-old where he would go on his release and he said he would return to the Ukraine.