Judge refuses to hear theft case deeming charges ‘too serious’

Judge Carol Anne Coolican

A JUDGE refused to hear a case in the District Court in Limerick this week after being told the amount allegedly stolen and the number of charges involved.

Judge Carol Ann Coolican sent the case, in which a man living in Newcastle West is alleged to have stolen a total of €4,344, on to a higher court.

Traveer Islam, of Oak Park, Newcastle West, is facing 17 charges of theft using a handheld device to divert money to an account.

The alleged thefts happened on dates between July 23 and August 17, 2021, at a fast food outlet in Rathkeale.

Mr Islam was present in Newcastle West District court with his solicitor when Judge Coolican asked for details of the amounts involved.

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When she was told some detail about the charges, she said that she was “concerned”.

“These are serious charges and a lot of money. I am refusing jurisdiction,” she told Inspector Gearoid Thompson who was prosecuting for the State.

Asked what the accused man’s financial circumstances were, Mr Islam’s solicitor said he is earning €400 a week and has to pay half of that amount in rent.

The judge’s refusal to adopt jurisdiction in the case means that it will now go forward to the Circuit Criminal Courts, where the accused man will have the option of a guilty plea or a trial by jury.

The possible penalties in the higher court are more onerous than those on the District Court, should an accused plead guilty or be found guilty by a jury.