Strong words for parents of thief at Longford District Court

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The parents of a teenager who carried out an audacious raid at a Co Longford business premises have been told they must take a certain portion of blame for their family’s crime fuelled ways.

Judge Seamus Hughes took aim at the upbringing exploits of the parents of Brandon McDonnell, 34 College Park, Longford after he pleaded guilty to stealing €300 and a cash register valued at €200 from The Shop, Ballagh, Newtownforbes on November 25 2017.


Inspector Blaíthín Moran said at around 8:30pm two suspects entered the store.
The inspector said despite there being no one at the counter, Mr McDonnell made off with the register as the owner attempted to pursue the suspect on foot.


Judge Hughes was informed Mr McDonnell committed both offences while on bail and had been in custody in Castlerea Prison since November 28.
Fiona Baxter, defending, said Mr McDonnell’s time behind bars had been a sobering one and was something he was keen to learn from.


“He (Mr McDonnell) doesn’t offer any excuses to the court and has asked me to apologise to the injured parties,” she said, pausing to reveal Mr McDonnell’s father was present in court to support his teenage son.
“He (Mr McDonnell) has been in custody since November and it has been an eye opening experience.”


Taking note of the defendant’s father who stood before the court, Judge Hughes had stinging words about the example which was being set for him and his siblings.


“I don’t know what Mr McDonnell has instilled in his children other than to commit crime of a very serious nature,” he said.
“They (parents) must take some responsibility for how they bring up their children.”


The accused’s father responded by indicating he was willing to offer some form of compensation for his son’s actions.
Judge Hughes, nonetheless, proceeded to sentence Mr McDonnell to four months in prison for the Ballagh break-in.


In doing so, he hinted at the sizeable knock on effects offences of such a nature can have on society.


“The court very seldom hears from victims” he said.
“She (victim) is not in court and it might be just as well she is not because I am sure she would have described the devastating effect it (incident) has had on her.”


The four month jail sentence handed down was backdated to November 28-the date Mr McDonnell first went into custody.