Judge flags probation service ‘breakdown’

“The Probation Service is breaking down.”

That’s according to a judge at Cork District Court in a case which had been adjourned a number of times for a probation report that was still not available yesterday because of a lack of resources.

Judge Con O’Leary made the comment in the case against Kieran Hegarty who wanted to have the benefit of the Probation Service, his solicitor, Donal Daly said yesterday.

Hegarty pleaded guilty on May 19 to burgling four apartments at the same complex in Cork. Hegarty, 36, of 4 Watercourse Mews, Watercourse Road, Blackpool, Cork, admitted entering four apartments at North Quay apartments, Pope’s Quay, Cork, on dates between March 16 and April 3.

Judge Con O’Leary put the case back until May 26 for sentencing. On that date he then adjourned sentencing until July 2, to allow time for preparation of a probation report. None was available because of resource issues.

The case was further adjourned to yesterday, allowing more than two months for the preparation of a report on Hegarty. Again none was available.

“It is going nowhere,” Judge O’Leary said. “I put it back from May to July and again from July to September, there is still no report. The Probation Service is breaking down,” he said.

Donal Daly, solicitor, said of the accused: “He is keen to have a probation report.”

Judge O’Leary said: “I was talking about a nine-month sentence, I will impose five months in prison on the burglaries.”

Hegarty had been on bail originally but was in custody since September 9. The judge agreed to backdate the five months to that date. The four five-month sentences will run concurrently.

Hegarty burgled one apartment at North Quay Place apartments on March 16 and he then returned to burgle other flats on later dates, two on March 22 and one on April 3.


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