A judge has taken “a leap of faith” with regard to a man facing a significant number of theft charges before Longford District Court.
Francis Gavin (34) with addresses at 8 Parslickstown Gardens, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15 and 3 Canal Bank, Longford, appeared last Tuesday morning before Judge Bernadette Owens.
Mr Gavin is charged with a series of thefts from various locations around Longford and Mullingar in January and February of this year.
It is alleged that, on January 9, 2022, Mr Gavin stole an air fryer worth €99.99 from Lidl, Longford, after allegedly stealing €40 worth of cosmetics from a local pharmacy just three days earlier on January 6 and a quantity of bed linen from a furniture story on January 8.
Mr Gavin is also charged with carrying out a total of seven other thefts over the course of eight days in February 2022, starting on February 2 when he allegedly stole lego to the value of €169.99 from a Mullingar toy store.
Five days later, on February 7, it is alleged that Mr Gavin stole face cream valued at €230 from a Longford pharmacy. On February 9, Mr Gavin is charged with taking €30 worth of cleaning items from a shop in the town centre and €179 worth of perfum and aftershave from another pharmacy in the town.
On February 14, Mr Gavin allegedly stole four sets of duvet covers valued at €299.96 from a Mullingar department store, before returning to the toy store and taking a box of lego raptors valued at €139.99 and a box of lego technic valued at €99.99.
Finally, on February 17, he allegedly returned to one of the Longford pharmacies and stole face creams to the value of €300.
Prior to the charges this year, Mr Gavin was charged with stealing two hairdryers to the value of €240 on November 20, 2019 at a home goods store on the outskirts of Longford town.
Mr Gavin has been in custody and trying to get residential treatment for a drug addiction in Cuan Mhuire, Co Kildare, the court heard, but they need to meet him in person to make an assessment.
“He’s determined to get himself off drugs. The only way it can be done is if the court were to grant him bail and adjourn the case for one week so he could go and get assessed,” explained Frank Gearty, solicitor for Mr Gavin.
Prosecuting sergeant, Enda Daly, said the state would not object to bail if there’s a likelihood that Mr Gavin would get a place in a residential treatment facility.
“He believes he can present himself at Cuan Mhuire while he’s drug-free and they would assess him. He’s drug-free for the first time in years owing to the fact that he has been in custody,” said Mr Gearty.
“The difficulty is the court now has to balance that he comes before the court with significant relevant charges and significant relevant previous convictions,” said Judge Owens.
“However, I think it’s accepted that the underlying issue was drugs. There’s an element of a leap of faith. It may well be that the fact he has been in custody for a period of time and has had a forced period of detoxification may now present him with the opportunity of getting him a place.
“I’m going to take a chance on Mr Gavin but to say he’s on a tightrope is not a good description.”
With that, Judge Owens granted bail with sign-on and curfew conditions, as well as a requirement to remain free of any intoxicant.
Mr Gavin was due to appear in court on Tuesday, May 3, for an update regarding his Cuan Mhuire assessment.
“In addition, when you pleaded, a plea was put in mitigation and I had made a determination in my mind as to what sentence I would give,” Judge Owens warned Mr Gavin.
“If you don’t take the opportunity (for residential treatment), all bets are off.”
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