Judge compares stealing phone to grave-robbing

The theft of a mobile phone from a man who lay unconscious on the street was compared to grave-robbing by a sentencing judge yesterday.

Inspector Brian O’Donovan said the man was walking home by Cattlemarket Avenue, off Blarney St in Cork, when he was hit from behind and knocked unconscious.

Nobody was ever charged with this assault but in the follow-up investigation, it was found that Shane Justice, of 91 Gerald Griffin St, Cork, had the man’s phone.

Justice pleaded guilty at Cork District Court to stealing the phone at 2.30am on August 14.

Judge Con O’Leary said that to go through a man’s pockets and steal his phone as he lay unconscious was akin to grave-robbing.

Shane Collins-Daly, defending, said Justice insisted this was not how it occurred on the morning in question.

Justice addressed Judge O’Leary directly yesterday. He said he came across the victim of the assault and waited with him until the ambulance arrived. He said the phone had fallen out of his pocket and was on the ground beside him when Justice arrived.

He said he picked up the phone and that when the victim regained consciousness, he did not want anything to do with the ambulance crew or anyone present and he walked off. Justice said this was how he ended up holding the phone. He said he only went over to help the man.

The phone was never recovered but Justice pleaded guilty to stealing it. Mr Collins-Daly described it as an opportunistic offence.

Insp O’Donovan outlined details of another offence where Justice was shouting and roaring after midnight on May 26 on Gerald Griffin St, waking neighbours. He shouted, “fuck you all”. Insp O’Donovan said it was “verbals” more than anything else. Judge O’Leary said the other incident was definitely more serious.

Mr Collins-Daly said Justice had issues with anxiety, depression, and isolation.

Judge O’Leary imposed a six-month suspended sentence on Justice for stealing the phone and nominal fines for being drunk and threatening during the other incident. Justice had no previous convictions.


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