Longford District Court
A court has heard how an aggrieved father of five was spared a criminal conviction after stealing a TV remote control because a major supermarket giant refused to replace a ‘defective’ device which had been purchased by the man’s wife.
Richard McDonnell, with an address at 3 Palace Drive, Ardnacassa, Longford was charged with the theft of a Universal TV remote control from Tesco, Longford Shopping Centre on November 10 2017.
The value of the item taken, which was recovered, retailed at €24.99.
Before the case itself got underway, Judge Hughes said he was reluctant to grant Mr McDonnell free legal aid.
This, he said, was due to the fact Mr McDonnell’s social welfare allowances exceeded the €400 mark.
“You are a wealthy man,” Judge Hughes told him.
“You are getting more than the average industrial wage from social welfare.”
Mr McDonnell responded by claiming there was no question of any impropriety being involved and that the money was to meet his family needs.
“It’s (money) not a lot,” added Mr McDonnell, pausing to reveal his mode of transport was a 07 Opel Zafira.
Mr McDonnell continued, saying he also was also required to meet monthly instalments for a €1,100 insurance premium.
In the end, Judge Hughes granted Mr McDonnell legal aid.
Inspector Blaithin Moran said CCTV footage taken from the incident showed Mr McDonnell taking the TV remote shortly before he was intercepted by security personnel.
In defence, solicitor John Quinn said there was a “little bit of history” behind the incident.
“His wife had acquired a remote and it was defective,” he said.
Mr Quinn said an unsuccessful approach had been made to Tesco to try and replace the said item, prompting his client to take the law into his own hands.
“They (Tesco) wouldn’t replace it so he (Mr McDonnell) went and got a replacement as he was annoyed at the attitude taken to his wife,” added Mr Quinn.
In light of those revelations, Judge Hughes said he would not impose a criminal conviction on Mr McDonnell and instead gave him the benefit of Section 1 (1) of the Probation Act.