A Kilkenny father has told a court how he chased an uninvited man out of his house.
Ger Barry, of no fixed abode, denied a charge of burglary before Kilkenny District Court, however he was convicted by Judge Colin Daly who heard evidence and viewed CCTV footage from the day of the offence.
Evidence was heard from Kevin Mooney that on April 8 last, at about 7.40pm, he was at home in Key Court, New Building Lane, with his partner and 15-week-old baby son.
Mr Mooney was upstairs in his bedroom when he heard someone walking around his house. First he thought it was his partner and took no notice, until his bedroom door opened and a man came in.
Mr Mooney called out to the man who ran away. Mr Mooney ran after the man, following him out of the house and onto New Building Lane where he saw the man go in the direction of High Street. Mr Mooney then went back into the house to check on his partner and child.
Mr Mooney said he saw the hood and jacket the man was wearing but did not see his face.
The gardaí were called.
Mr Mooney said he always keeps his front door locked but on this day he and his partner were going in and out doing some work in the yard.
He said he was not aware of anything missing from the house after the incident.
CCTV from three sources was also shown in court - garda cameras, Kilkenny County Council cameras and cameras located at the Good Shepherd Centre. Judge Daly was shown footage of a man identified as the defendant walking into the courtyard of Key Court then, some minutes later, running out the gate pursued by Mr Mooney.
Evidence about the investigation and sourcing of the CCTV footage was given in court by Garda Michael Ryan from the telecommunication section of the Kilkenny-Carlow Garda Division; Finbar Hourigan, a social care worker and the data protection officer at the Good Shepherd Centre; and Steven Coverdale from Kilkenny County Council.
Garda David Carthy investigated the burglary and told the court that he attended Mr Mooney’s home on the evening of the incident. He then made CCTV enquiries and viewed the garda footage of the area. A garda with him identified the defendant. Some days later a second garda viewed the CCTV and also identified the defendant.
The next day Garda Carthy obtained a search warrant for Mr Barry’s residence at the Good Shepherd Centre, where he was residing at the time. Nothing of evidential value was found.
Garda Dunning told the court he arrested Mr Barry on April 11. He was searched and a substance in tin foil was found. He admitted it was heroin.
CCTV footage was shown to Mr Barry and he denied that he was the male on the CCTV. He also denied that he was the male seen running from the scene on the CCTV.
Peter Fanning also gave evidence in the case. He said that on the date in question he was walking from High Street to Parliament Street when he saw Ger Barry run very quickly down High Street. “I know Ger Barry from being a security guard for 15 years,” he said.
Garda James McGuill said that on the date of the incident he was the driver of the garda patrol call.
“At 20.10 we got a call about a burglary on New Building Lane from the injured party who reported that a male had entered his home and had ran off when he met the injured party in an upstairs bedroom.”
Garda McGuill gave evidence that he was approached by Peter Fanning who said that he had seen Ger Barry running at speed down High Street.
Garda Aidan Fitzpatrick, who has been stationed at Kilkenny Garda Station for the past 19 years and knows Ger Barry said that he was asked to look at the garda CCTV.
“I viewed it and I saw Ger Barry enter into Key Court.”
Judge Colin Daly said that the CCTV evidence clearly identified the accused and placed him at the right time at the right place adding that he was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that on the date in question Mr Barry did commit a burglary at 10, Key Court on New Building Lane.
The court heard that the defendant has 170 previous convictions including convictions for trespass, theft, possession/handling of stolen property, possession of drugs and burglary.
Solicitor Ed Hughes said that the offence was ‘at the lower end if the scale of seriousness’ and added that the defendant had fled the scene without any incident of violence and that nothing was taken.
“The incident happened in broad daylight,” said Mr Hughes who also told the court that his client has a long-standing addiction to heroin and on the date in question had recently been released from prison. The defendant has spent ten weeks in custody in relation to the incident.
Judge Daly remarked that the aggravating factors in the case included that the premises was occupied at the time the burglary occurred and that it happened in broad daylight. The judge sentenced Mr Barry to ten months in prison and backdated it to April 12.
He also convicted the defendant under section 3 of the Misuse of Drugs Act of having drugs in his possession for personal use. He imposed a three-month prison sentence and ordered that it run concurrently to the sentence previously imposed.