Longford District Court: Man did not know car purchased online was stolen

Suspended sentence handed down by judge

Longford District Court: Man did not know car purchased online was stolen

A man who pleaded guilty to being in the possession of a stolen car with false number plates was handed a six month suspended sentence at a recent district court sitting in Longford.

Brendan Hannafin, 11 An Drinan, Ballymahon, Longford was charged on foot of an incident at Lanesboro’s SuperValu Car Park, Main Street on February 25, 2015.

On the same date, he was also charged with being in possession of a false NCT disk and vehicle registration certificate contrary to Section 29 of the Criminal Justice Act.

Superintendent Fergus Treanor said gardaí came across Mr Hannafin behind the wheel of an Opel Astra car which had previously been taken during the course of a burglary in Lucan, Co Dublin.

In defence, solicitor Tina Dolan said her client was completely oblivious to the fact the car he had purchased on classifiedads website was stolen.

“He has no previous (convictions) and the first inkling he had of this was made known to him in the interview room,” Ms Dolan said of her client.

The solicitor said Mr Hannafin paid almost €3,000 for the car after seeing the vehicle advertised before travelling to Kilteevan in Co Roscommon to hand over the money.

She also said Mr Hannafin co-operated with gardaí in their efforts to track down the seller by handing in a mobile phone to them.

Superintendent Treanor, when asked about whether he accepted the defence that was being put before the court, replied: “Absolutely not”.

Judge Seamus Hughes was told a tax book was handed into gardaí while investigating officers also recovered two forged documents from the car, namely an NCT disk and vehicle registration certificate.

When pressed further as to the quality of those documents by Judge Hughes, Supt Treanor said they were “very poor”.

Ms Dolan said part of the reason for that was down to her client’s belief that the tax book was wet when he purchased the car.

“This is the first time he has been in court,” she added. “He accepts he was in possession of a stolen car but he was unaware of it.”

Despite Mr Hannafin’s previous good record, Judge Hughes said he was left with little option but to impose some form of suspended sentence.

He subsequently handed down a six month sentence, suspending the term for a period of five years.

He also fined Mr Hannafin €500, giving him three months to pay.

The other two Section 29 charges were struck out.