A man who appeared at last week’s sitting of Longford Circuit Court charged under the Theft & Fraud Offences Act was ordered to pay €1,000 to the injured party in the case.
The defendant was also told by the presiding judge, that 200 hours of community service in lieu of a prison sentence, would be imposed upon him, once the money was furnished.
Kenny Sheridan (35), The Matrix, Drumcree, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, appeared before Judge Keenan Johnson charged with forgery at Tesco Car Park, Longford on February 17, 2014.
He was also further charged with making a false instrument by writing a cheque in the name of another person in the amount of €6,000 intending that it be used to induce Martin Foley on the same date.
Outlining the evidence to the court, Mr Des Dockery BL on behalf of the State said that the case centered around a forged cheque for €6,000 that the defendant gave to Martin Foley as payment following the takeover of a lease on a licenced premises in Drumlish.
On the date in question, the court was told that Mr Sheridan wrote out the cheque and forged the signature of another man before making the payment to Mr Foley.
“The cheque Mr Sheridan used was in another person's name; it was given to Martin Foley - who believed it was genuine - but when he lodged it in the bank, it was subsequently returned,” Mr Dockery explained.
In his evidence to the court Detective Garda Padraig Fahy said that Mr Foley had leased his bar in Drumlish - The Tavern - to Mr Sheridan and the money paid was for stock that remained on the premises after the lease was signed.
“An agreement was reached with regards to the repayments on the lease, but Mr Foley did not receive those payments,” added the detective.
“He did, however, receive a cheque for €6,000 from Mr Sheridan but the cheque bounced, so he told Mr Sheridan what had happened and Mr Sheridan made two cash payments to him thereafter.”
Meanwhile, the court was told that Mr Foley made a complaint about the matter to An Garda Síochána.
The court heard that after members investigated the case further, they discovered that the cheque in question, had been associated with a company that was no longer trading.
“In July 2014 Mr Sheridan paid Mr Foley €3,000,” Detective Garda Fahy continued, before pointing out that the defendant was arrested the following September.
“Mr Sheridan acknowledged signing the cheque and handing it to Mr Foley and said that he had given it in good faith.
“Mr Sheridan later paid Mr Foley the remainder of the money owed.”
Judge Johnson then asked whether or not the defendant held any previous convictions.
The Judge was subsequently told that Mr Sheridan had a number of convictions that included criminal damage, robbery, theft and trading without a licence.
In mitigation, counsel for the defendant Mr Niall Flynn BL said that his client was a 34-year-old man who was separated with five children.
The barrister also pointed to a probation report in respect of the defendant that had already been furnished to the court.
Mr Flynn BL added; “This offence took place three years ago and he has apologised for what happened.”
Counsel went on to say that his client had handed the cheque over to Mr Foley in good faith and accepted full responsibility for the situation that subsequently developed.
“The entire €6,000 has now been paid to Mr Foley and Mr Sheridan does regret what happened,” continued Mr Flynn BL.
“He is working as a freelance chef.
“I would say that Mr Sheridan is a man who if given a chance, will take it.”
The barrister went on to say that the defendant had initially taken over the lease on the pub in an effort to “provide for his family” and it was a move that unfortunately had not worked out well.
“I would therefore ask the court to be as lenient as possible,” he added.
During his deliberations on the matter, Judge Johnson acknowledged the defendant’s guilty plea to the charges before the court.
The Judge also said that he found it “incredible” that Mr Sheridan would say that he handed over the cheque in good faith considering he forged a signature.
“In fairness to him, Mr Sheridan did not shy away from his responsibilities in relation to this,” Judge Johnson continued.
“Setting up a pub was an unmitigated financial disaster from Mr Sheridan’s point of view.
“The probation report indicates that he is suitable for community service.”
The Judge subsequently ordered Mr Sheridan to pay €1,000 in compensation to Mr Foley and said that when the money was furnished he would impose 200 hours community service.