Judge unhappy with “pointless” community service for recidivist burglar

Galway Daily courts Three more men charged over car park altercation due before court

A Galway judge unhappily confirmed an order for a man with a criminal history as long as his arm to perform community service for multiple burglaries, after he paid compensation to the businesses in question.

Stephen Keary (51), of Ballybrit Cottages, Ballybrit pleaded guilty to burglaries at two businesses in Galway City between July 2017 and August 2018.

The case was last heard before Galway District Court in September, when Judge John King indicated that Keary would receive 200 hours of community service in lieu of seven months in prison if he paid full compensation to the businesses he stole from.

The first offence took place at Fitness 35 gym at Tuam Road Retail Centre on July 2 of 2017, where Keary forced the front door of the premises and stole €500 in cash.

The second burglary occurred at the Clayton Hotel in Ballybrit on August 3 of 2018, where Keary stole €640 in cash and property of the hotel. Both incidents were captured on CCTV.

The full €1,140 loss to the businesses has since been paid back, the District Court heard this week.

At a sentencing hearing to finalise matters this week, Judge Mary Fahy confirmed the sentence indicated by Judge King, but said she was not happy with it due to the seriousness of the charges.

The court heard that Keary had 118 previous criminal convictions, including 10 for burglary.

“For someone who’s actually a recidivist to get community service is practically pointless,” Judge Fahy remarked upon hearing of his history.

The judge confirmed Judge King’s sentence, but noted that she was only doing so as her hands were tied due to not wanting to interfere with another judge’s order.

Keary was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service for the burglary at Fitness 35, with a seven month prison sentence if he fails to do so.

A seven month suspended sentence was imposed for the burglary at the Clayton Hotel.