Longford man 'too full of chicken' to give statement

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Longford Courthouse

Longford Courthouse

A court has heard how a man may have been too “full of chicken” to provide a garda statement into claims he stole a cache of meat from a Longford based supermarket last year.

Judge Seamus Hughes made the suggestion in relation to the theft of over €30 worth of groceries from SuperValu, Hazelwood Shopping Centre, Lanesboro Road, Longford on November 19 2016.

The accused, Michael Ward of 14 Palace Crescent, Longford pleaded guilty to stealing five chicken fillets, a chicken goujon, five BBQ chicken wings and a four pack of Red Bull.

The court was told the total value of the items stolen amounted to €31.25.

Inspector Bláithín Moran said gardaí were alerted to a possible incident of theft at the Longford town store and arrived at the scene at around 2pm.

She said officers spoke to a member of the store’s security team who claimed there had been an alleged theft earlier that day.

Inspector Moran revealed that Mr Ward was identified taking the items after officers viewed the store’s CCTV footage.

She also explained investigating officer Garda Dorr had on “several occasions” attempted to ascertain Mr Ward’s version of events through a statement but was ultimately unable to do so.

“He was full of chicken, that’s why,” shouted an amused looking Judge Hughes as he asked if the poultry in question was cooked or uncooked.

Attempting to shed further light on the matter, Frank Gearty defending said his client was hesitant about what state the meat was in at the time.

“He (Mr Ward) doesn’t know because his partner was going to do the cooking,” said Mr Gearty, whilst glancing back to the rear of the courtroom in search of his client.

As attention was cast towards Mr Ward’s character, the court learned the Longford man had 20 previous convictions to his name with seven being attributed to theft.

Mr Gearty said Mr Ward was a 27-year-old man with three children who had suffered from depression at the time of the incident.

He added had he been more co-operative from the outset it would have gone a sizeable way to explaining how he had in fact returned to the store and paid for the goods.

Taking time to examine a receipt handed in to verify those assertions, Judge Hughes said the docket showed the items paid for were not the ones allegedly stolen but rather for a tiger loaf of bread.

Again appearing to take a somewhat light hearted view of those events, Judge Hughes noted the 31 Masterchef tokens which would have assisted with the chicken’s cooking.

Mr Gearty continued by asking if Judge Hughes would consider affording him a stint of community service given that he was already well versed in that area.

“He has been working along the Canal line and has done about 60 of 240 hours,” he said.

Judge Hughes said he would proceed with a suspended sentence but warned Mr Ward if he broke the terms of any sentence handed down he would almost certainly face a jail term.

The judge concluded affairs by issuing a two month prison sentence, suspending it for three years.