Polish man perplexed by poor box procedure

A Polish man who works as a chef in Galway did not understand the court poor box procedure in Kerry — and paid his €500 contribution directly to a charity of his own choice, Killarney District Court heard.

Polish man perplexed by poor box procedure

Wojeciech Melgies, aged 28, of Bricdale, Headford Rd, Galway, will now have to travel to the courts a third time in Kerry to explain himself fully in giving his contribution directly to the Irish Cancer Society, to see if his case is finally struck out.

Last April, representing himself, he agreed to pay the contribution to the poor box to avoid a conviction for a small amount of cannabis possession. He has no previous convictions.

He had admitted to having in his possession €10 worth of cannabis at Loretto Rd in Killarney on April 7, 2016, during a visit to the tourist town.

“Straight away I paid the money to the Cancer Society,” he told Killarney District Court this week.

He understood that this contribution disposed of the matter and his case was struck out.

He said he knew nothing of having to appear again before Killarney District Court last July because of non-payment of the agreed amount.

He said he got no letter telling him to be in court and only knew about having to appear in July when he was arrested under bench warrant for non-appearance by a garda in Galway.

He travelled to Killarney from Galway to the sitting this week with his father and told the court that no-one had explained to him he had to pay the money directly to the court in Kerry — he believed he could pay it to a charity of his own choice.

He handed a receipt to the court clerk.

Judge James O’Connor said: “You volunteered to pay to the court clerk €500 for a strike out.”

That was April, the judge noted. But when July came he did not appear.

Reading from the notes on the court papers, Judge O’Connor said: “Defendant is voluntarily offering €500 to the court poor box.”

When Melgies said “no-one told me that. I paid it to the Cancer Society,” Judge James O’Connor said he did not like his attitude.

The judge said he is putting the matter back to October 17 and Melgies exclaimed at having to travel down to Killarney.

”Again?” Melgies asked.

Outside the court, Melgies said it has already cost him €1,000 both in the contribution and in travelling up and down from Galway.

He also has to take time out of work. He said he will look at appealing the matter if he can.

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