Eddie Burke, defending, said Jason O’Brien, aged 33, was at a new phase in his life, in that he was serious about wanting to deal with his problems under the direction of the probation service.
O’Brien has 214 convictions, many of them for car-related offences.
Last week at Cork District Court, visiting judge Aingil Ní Chondúin asked, after reading background reports on the persistent offender: “What are we going to do short of cutting his hands off, which I wouldn’t like to do?”
The case was adjourned back to Judge Con O’Leary yesterday. He remarked on O’Brien’s change in attitude to his own rehabilitation: “He is very open to the probation service now which carries a lot of weight.”
Judge O’Leary adjourned the case to September 10.
Mr Burke said: “He has an addiction, albeit an addition to taking cars. His modus operandi is to drive off in a car where he finds the keys in the ignition or placed over the wheel of the car [outside a garage]. He takes them for a drive, he leaves them abandoned, or returns them. For the first time he wants to get help. He called to Cork All-iance. That is a first for him.”
Among the latest charges, O’Brien, of St Vincent’s hostel, Anglesea Terrace, stole a van belonging to Kearney’s Coach Hire in Cork City on the night of April 16. At 8am on April 17, he was seen driving the coach into the Prompto Despatch yard at Meenane, Watergrasshill, where he crashed into a parked car. He hid in bushes in a field, but gardaí found him and arrested him.