'This is a first': Man avoids jail for stealing hares from coursing club

The unusual theft of nine hares from a coursing club resulted yesterday in a young man avoiding a conviction for taking them.

Judge Olann Kelleher had put sentencing back to see how the man would get on.

Frank Buttimer, solicitor, said the 19-year-old had no previous convictions and was doing very well in his life. He said that Arthur McCarthy was keen to avoid a first conviction for theft.

Judge Kelleher said: “He has kept his side of it so I will keep mine.” The judge gave Mr McCarthy the benefit of a dismissal under the Probation of Offenders Act.

In March, Inspector Gary McPolin said gardaí became suspicious of a vehicle parked in the Blarney area.

“On December 15, 2017, at 2.30 in the afternoon, gardaí observed a car parked in somewhat unusual circumstances at Shean Lower, Blarney, Co Cork. The driver’s door was open and the engine was running. It also had an enclosed trailer attached to it,” said the inspector.

“The registered owner was Arthur McCarthy who was with the vehicle. Gardaí found a box containing five hares next to the trailer and four more hares in the trailer.”

While Mr McCarthy, of Bay 5, Spring Lane halting site, Blackpool, Cork, was reluctant to give any explanation to gardaí for his unusual live cargo, he did plead guilty to the charges of stealing the box and the nine hares at Cork District Court.

Insp McPolin said: “The treasurer from Cork Coursing Club later identified the hare box and the nine hares as being the property of the club. All nine hares were tagged. The value of the box was €20 and the nine hares were collectively valued at €1,080.”

When the case first came before the court, Mr Buttimer said: “This is a first — the theft of hares. It certainly ranks in the unusual department.”

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