Man took rugby shirt from Longford store in ‘opportunistic theft’, court hears

A father-of-eight who walked into a Longford sports shop to steal a rugby shirt for his six-year-old son has been convicted and fined €150 by Judge Bernadette Owens.

Michael Maughan (33), 1 Sillage Green, Swords Road, Dublin, pleaded guilty in District Court last week to the theft of an Irish rugby shirt worth €39 from Elvery’s, Athlone Road , Longford on March 7, 2022.

The court heard that Mr Maughan entered the store around 2pm with a co-defendant, who was due to appear later in the day after pleading not guilty to the alleged incident.

Sergeant Enda Daly, for the state, said the two men were seen entering the store and the accused was observed taking two rugby shirts from a clothes rail.

“One of the men, identified as the accused, looked at the Irish rugby shirts and grabbed an adult and a juvenile shirt and walked into the dressing room,” he said.

“The defendant came back and showed the other person the adult shirt on himself.

“The defendant returned to the locker room before returning to the workshop and put the adult shirt back on the shelf.

“The defendant did not attempt to return the youth shirt.

“At this stage they have gone through all payment points and staff have searched the changing rooms but no youth shirts have been found.

“The value of this jersey was €39 and has not been recovered.”

Sergeant Daly said Mr Maughan was a man who had 21 previous convictions, including one relating to a robbery dating from a hearing at Swords District Court in May 2021.

This resulted in a fine of 200 euros and a six-month driving ban, he added.

In defence, barrister Brid Mimnagh opened his mitigation on behalf of Mr Maughan by handing over €40 to cover the cost of the stolen shirt.

She said Mr Maughan was someone who no longer resided in Longford and fully accepted his guilt.

“You won’t see him here again,” Ms Mimnagh told Judge Owens.

“He has eight children and it was (the theft) a matter of opportunism.

“He takes full responsibility and he is very eager to tell the court that there is a co-defendant and it was completely his idea and as far as he was concerned and he was the one who did this in order to get this jersey for the kid.”

Ms Mimnagh said she glanced at CCTV taken at the scene, telling the court that the state’s presentation of the case was very accurate in its delivery.

“He’s apologizing, he’s refunded it and he’s really sorry and he’s sorry he got another person involved in this,” she said.

Judge Owens, in delivering her verdict, said she took into account Mr Maughan’s acceptance of guilt and his offer of compensation in court.

So she fined him €150, giving him four months to pay.