03 Dec 2021

Longford man on theft charges tells court: ‘I am welcome everywhere’

Judge refuses to accept man's apology, telling him: "You have come into court for the 43rd time and said you are sorry"

Judge Seamus Hughes

Judge Seamus Hughes has told a man with 42 previous convictions that he would not accept his apology, telling him: "You have come into court for the 43rd time and said you are sorry"

A man told a court last week he was “sorry” for stealing two bottles of wine before walking out of court moments later, declaring: “I am innocent of all these charges.”

Ciaran Higgins (31), Cloncullen, Ballymahon, Co Longford was in attendance at Longford District Court last week to face two counts of shoplifting from Tesco, Longford Shopping Centre, Townspark, Co Longford on July 31 2020 and which resulted in the theft of two bottles of wine valued at a combined total of €26.

Despite being defended by local solicitor Frank Gearty, Mr Higgins addressed the court from the outset by admitting his role in the alleged thefts.

“I would like to apologise to the court for taking the wine,” he said, just as Sgt Mark Mahon disclosed the defendant was a man with 42 previous convictions on his record.

“I won’t accept your apology,” Judge Seamus Hughes snapped.

“You have come into court for the 43rd time and said you are sorry.

“Where is the money for the bottles of wine?”

Mr Higgins replied by saying he was “working with the Government” to do just that and was hoping to reinstate his social welfare payments over the coming days.

“I only got out of prison the other day,” added Mr Higgins, as Judge Hughes questioned whether the 31-year-old was “welcome” at home.

“I am welcome everywhere,” Mr Higgins responded.

The case was ultimately adjourned and put back to a sitting in January when it is expected compensation will be offered up to the court.

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