By Liam Heylin
A wedding day had a dark cloud hanging over it thanks to a jeweller who kept a ring with great sentimental value that was entrusted to him for redesign for the big day.
Detective Garda Colin Greenway said yesterday at Michael Wall’s sentencing hearing that the accused only pleaded guilty to the theft-related charge on the third day of his trial at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
The ring in question was returned to the couple during this trial.
Judge Brian O’Callaghan gave Wall a suspended two-year jail sentence yesterday.
In a victim impact statement prepared by the couple, they said they saved for three years for the perfect wedding day. However, they said Wall was responsible for a dark cloud hanging over the day because of the absence of the ring that was entrusted to him. They paid him €1,200 for his work on the ring and for the purchase of a second ring. They had to come up with €1,700 three weeks before the wedding to buy the rings elsewhere.
Sgt Greenway said it was the sentimental value of the ring, belonging to the late father of the groom, that caused them most distress.
On March 10, 2016, the couple who were planning their wedding called to Wall’s jewellers at Winthrop Arcade in Cork enquiring about rings. The groom wanted his late father’s wedding ring to be used and redesigned for himself so this had particular significance for him.
Wall quoted €1,500 for the rings but said that if they paid up front it would be €1,200 and that this was because the jewelsmith wanted to be paid upfront. Wall told them the rings would be ready in two weeks.
The couple paid the €1,200. A short time later, they heard negative coverage in relation to Wall on the radio.
They made numerous attempts to get in touch with him and got one email in reply saying he was in poor health. They never got the rings or their money back.
Wall did not co-operate with the investigation and refused to say what had become of the ring belonging to the man’s father.
Enquiries with the jewelsmith who was to do the work confirmed that this man had not been commissioned by Wall to do the work at any time.
When the plea of guilty was made on the third day of the trial, Wall handed the ring to the detective, saying he had not given it back before now because he had been instructed to have no contact with the injured parties.
The detective said the accused would have had ample opportunity to return the ring through gardaí many times.
The detective said Wall had previous convictions of a similar nature.
Wall had an address at Marionville, Alexandra Rd, St Luke’s, at the time.