A Longford man with over 120 previous convictions has been sentenced to three months behind bars after stealing and cashing a fraudulent cheque from a Department of Social Protection official.
Twenty-eight-year-old Scott Duffy, 91 Gleann Riada, Longford pleaded guilty to taking the cheque from a community welfare officer at the Department of Employment and Social Protection, Ballinalee Road, Longford on June 7 2018.
The court heard how Mr Duffy had attended a meeting with the welfare officer on the day of the incident.
Sgt Enda Daly, for the State, said the official had temporarily stepped outside to take a phone call and it was during this timeframe that tthe accused stole a cheque from the state official's chequebook.
He said CCTV footage was obtained showing Mr Duffy entering a business on the main Dublin Road and cashing the cheque for €300.
That resulted in Mr Duffy being charged with the theft of a blank cheque and subsequently cashing it for the aforemention sum under Sections 4 and 6 of the Criminal Justice Act.
In defence, solicitor John Quinn termed both offences as “legacy charges” in light of the fact they took place almost three years ago.
When asked by Judge Seamus Hughes as to why the case had taken so long to come before the judiciary, Garda Anthony Scanlon said a mix of bureacratic red tape allied to the accused man's whereabouts were to blame.
“Another garda got promoted and the file was passed onto me,” he said.
“Mr Duffy had left Longford at that stage and proved difficult to find.”
Judge Hughes was likewise informed Mr Duffy was currently serving out a 15 month sentence in relation to a separate matter, a term which meant the accused was not expected to be released from prison until April next year.
Sitting in the dock, wearing an army top and dark trousers, Mr Duffy explained the reason why gardaí had difficulty in securing his arrest was because he had moved to England for a number of months to work as a binman.
“He doesn't want to evade these matters,” said Mr Quinn.
“He moved to England to try and get work, but unfortunately his past caught up with him.”
Judge Hughes was also told Mr Duffy was a father of five children with 126 previous convictions to his name.
Judge Hughes sentenced Mr Duffy to a three month concurrent term for the fraudulent cheque charge.
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