Opportunistic thief jailed for stealing property from Law Society of Ireland

by Staff Reporter

A man who ransacked offices at the Law Society of Ireland last year, stealing iPads and a laptop which he then sold to a shop, has been jailed for 18 months.

Derek Hickey (30), of Sean McDermott Street, pleaded guilty to theft at the Law Society on Blackhall Place on July 17, 2017.

Passing sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Martin Nolan said Hickey had “spotted an opportunity” when he noticed that a side door at the Law Society was ajar.

He said: “He stole certain items, did a deal of damage, and then did the proper thing for a burglar when confronted – he retreated and got out.”

Judge Nolan noted that Hickey had a long history of offending but also that he had pleaded guilty, expressed his remorse and cooperated fully.

Hickey was sentenced to 18 months in prison, taking into account the four months he has already spent in custody on this matter.

Garda Niall Cadden told Grainne O’Neill BL, prosecuting, that the theft took place shortly after 6pm when most of the staff had gone home.

The court heard that Maura Butler had been working in her office when the door opened and a man came in who then backed out the door again on seeing her.

Ms Butler told gardai that she asked the man what he was doing, to which he replied something about a toilet.

Ms Butler had heard noises coming from nearby offices and followed the man, to find that two offices had been trashed.

Hickey ran off, but was identified on CCTV and on arrest the following day he made full admissions, telling gardai he’d stolen a number of items and sold them straight away to a shop.

Hickey directed gardaí to the shop in question where the owner returned the two stolen iPads and a MacBook Air.

Ms Butler gave a victim impact statement which was not read out in court.
Joe Mulrean BL, defending, said that his client had been out begging and was walking by the Law Society when he noticed the open side door in question.

Mr Mulrean said it was an opportunistic crime which showed a lack of foresight and planning, as Hickey had been wearing a large fluorescent covering on his backpack which made him very conspicuous.

He noted that Ms Butler told gardai that Hickey “got a fright” when he saw her and immediately backed out of her office and ran away. Hickey told gardai he was addicted to heroin.

Mr Mulrean said Hickey had made serious efforts at rehabilitation and had attended a treatment programme.

The court heard that Hickey has also been offered a 20-week residential rehabilitation programme by Fr Peter McVerry.

Hickey has also worked with the Youth Action Project in Ballymun and had completed courses in outdoor pursuits.

Hickey apologised to the court, the gardai and to Ms Butler via his counsel.

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