19 Aug 2022

Longford judge slams man's decision to steal cider on grandmother's death, saying: “What about your 62 other (previous) offences, you only have two grandmothers?”

Judge Seamus Hughes

Judge Seamus Hughes hit out at a man's excuse for stealing cider at last week's District Court sitting

A man with over 60 previous convictions who blamed stealing four cans of cider on the death of his grandmother was told by a judge last week: “What about your 62 other (previous) offences, you only have two grandmothers?”

Stephen Maughan, 64 Grian Ard, Ardnacassa, Longford pleaded guilty to the theft of €10 worth of alcohol from Lidl, Dublin Road, Longford at last week’s sitting of Longford District Court.

In defence, solicitor Bríd Mimnagh said her client was very sorry and had been going through a “bad time” owing to the recent death of his grandmother.

In reply, Judge Seamus Hughes took issue with those claims and questioned Mr Maughan’s previous criminal record which included 62 earlier convictions, 21 of which were for theft.

“What about your 62 other offences, you only have two grandmothers?” Judge Hughes asked.

He also put it to Mr Maughan as to why he decided not to purchase more expensive forms of alcohol on the day.

“Why did he not go for a decent wine or whiskey? Why go for cider? I find that type of excuse absolutely pure stupid.”

Mr Maughan, appearing somewhat taken aback by the judge’s outburst, agreed by mumbling softly: “I was very stupid.”

Judge Hughes, however, said he simply did not believe Mr Maughan and took umbrage at his apparent lack of remorse.

He said he would not allow Mr Maughan to “waltz” into his courtroom, settle the €10 that was owed on the cider and walk out again.

Rather, he hit Mr Maughan with a €500 fine and gave him three months to pay.

“Thank you, your Honour,” replied Mr Maughan while looking up at the bench.

“I am very, very sorry, thank you.”

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