Longford District Court: Judge wants to question scrapyard bosses

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Judge Hughes

Judge Seamus Hughes.

he owners of a midlands based scrapyard have been told to appear before a district court sitting next month to answer questions over how they conduct their business.

Judge Seamus Hughes issued the call at a recent sitting of Longford District Court after two men allegedly stole several batteries from a car dealership in Ballymahon before selling them on to the Athlone firm.


Bernard and Joseph McDonagh, 17 and 15 Blackberry Lane, Athlone, Westmeath pleaded guilty to the offences which took place at Nally’s Hyundai Garage, Drinan, Ballymahon on various dates in June this year.


Inspector Bláithín Moran said the pair made three journeys to and from the south Longford dealership to steal the batteries, all of which was captured on CCTV.


Inspector Moran said Joseph McDonagh had 14 previous convictions to his name while his co-accused had one, leading Judge Hughes to joke the latter’s criminal record meant he could be described as “a walking saint.”
Judge Hughes said the incident raised certain questions as to the responsibilities businesses had in accepting what were, in effect, stolen items.


“If you cut the head off a snake, there would be no market place for these bucks,” he said.


In defence, solicitor John Quinn said those inferences were of little significance to his clients given that both men had “come sour out of the deal”.


Judge Hughes remained defiant though and said he wanted a senior figure from the scrapyard in question to come before him.


“I want someone here in court to say that they have certain responsibilities if they are to continue in business,” he said, despite predicting the likely answers which will be given.


“I, no doubt, will be told that they have changed their practices and procedures overnight.”


The Judge also hinted at how legislators should, in future, deal with individuals or businesses that are found to have accepted stolen goods.
“Maybe they should be charged with handling stolen property,” he sternly remarked.


“It would be interesting to see how it would progress in the Circuit Court either on indictment or on appeal.”


The case was expected to return before Longford District Court yesterday (Tuesday).