Farmer wins appeal over stolen goods jail sentence

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_2major_log_splitter-3000by Andrew Carey

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A COUNTY Limerick part-time farmer, who works “day and night and all the hours that God gives” has won his appeal on a conviction for buying stolen goods at a “knock-down” price.

At Limerick Circuit Court, Judge Tom O’Donnell heard that 39-year-old Malcolm Dick (39) of Riverfarm, Ballycarney, Clarina pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods when he bought a Ifor Williams trailer and a Major tractor operated log splitter.

The items were seized from Mr Dick’s farm in May of this year.

The trailer and log splitter were stolen from farms in Kilmallock and North Cork. The trailer, which was valued at €2,000 the log splitter worth €920 were purchased by Mr Dick for a “knock-down” price of €400.

At the original hearing in Limerick District Court, the father-of-three admitted to Gardaí that he knew the items were stolen after he was approached by an unnamed individual and offered them for sale. The court was told that Mr Dick had 25 dairy cows on a 109 acre farm and that he also worked as a truck driver at night to supplement his income.

During the Circuit Court appeal, defence counsel Pat Barriscale BL said that Mr Dick had been assessed for suitability to complete community service in lieu of a prison sentence.

Officers with the Probation Services concluded that because of Mr Dick’s working regime he was unsuitable to carry out community service. The District Court therefore imposed a prison sentence on those grounds.

It was claimed by the defence that the prison sentence was unfair and imposed through “no fault of his own”. This was not challenged by the State.

Granting the appeal and applying the Probation Act, Judge O’Donnell said that he noted the circumstances in the case, the fact that there were no previous convictions and that the accused man had made very early admissions.