A Polish national who sold two stolen cars on DoneDeal for around €6,000 each has received a suspended three-year jail term.
Piotr Waleza (46) of Moylaragh Crescent, Balbriggan, Co Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of handling stolen vehicles in north Dublin in 2014.
Judge Karen O’Connor said the offences warranted a custodial sentence with a headline figure of four years. In deciding to impose a suspended three-year prison term, however, the judge said she had taken into account that Waleza has a terminal illness for which he has a poor prognosis.
She also ordered that the €1,000 brought into court by Waleza should be split between the two injured parties.
The court heard that Waleza sold a Hyundai Santa Fe, which had been stolen three days earlier, for €6,000 in the car park of a SuperValu supermarket in Lusk, Co Dublin, on November 24, 2014.
The buyer, a self-employed mechanic, had used his redundancy money and other savings to buy the car.
In a victim impact statement, the man said he was distraught and angered by the event and “left feeling foolish” because he had carried out a number of checks to make sure he was buying a bona fide vehicle.
He became aware the car was stolen once he tried to register it in his own name.
In the second incident, Waleza sold a stolen Ford Focus, which had also been stolen three days earlier, for €5,850 in the car park of the Tesco supermarket in Rush, Co Dublin to a self-employed panel beater on November 25, 2014.
The buyer had spent an additional 40 hours of labour working on the vehicle which he had hoped to resell for a €600 profit and has suffered a total loss of €6,000.
In a victim impact statement, the buyer said he had lost self-confidence and was no longer as cheerful as before buying the vehicle.
The court heard Waleza, who has been living in Ireland for the past 14 years, had a number of previous convictions both in Ireland and Poland for offences including drink-driving, fraud and driving without a driving licence.
Judge O’Connor remarked that his past crimes reflected his abuse of alcohol.
The judge said Waleza had admitted to gardaí that he knew there was “something up” about the vehicles he was selling for which he hoped to earn €600.
She described his offences as “a particularly unpleasant form of criminality” that were premeditated.
“He knew what he was doing was dishonest,” remarked Judge O’Connor.
Sentencing Waleza to a suspended jail term of three years, the judge said she had regard for the fact that he was suffering serious ill health, had needed resuscitation several times in hospital and was no longer eligible for a transplant.