A Fermanagh shop manager who was his employer’s right hand man has been given a one year jail sentence, suspended for two years, at Dungannon Crown Court.
The court heard that Barry Morris, High Street, Ederney had betrayed the trust of the McBride Retail Group, who have offices all over the North by stealing over £6,000 in cash over a period of eight years.
In a victim impact statement on behalf of the group, the court heard that the “close friendship” between the owner of the group and the defendant was “a casualty of these proceedings”.
Barry Morris, High Street Ederney pleaded guilty to stealing cash to the value of £150 belonging to the McBride Retail Group on dates between January 1 2004 and November 30 2011.
He also admitted stealing cash to the value of £150 belonging to McBride Retail Group on dates between November 1 2011 and July 31 2012.
The 39 year-old also admitted stealing cash to the value of £180 belonging to the McBride Retail Group on dates between July 1 2012 and October 25 2012.
And he pleaded guilty to stealing cash to the value of £250 belonging to the McBride Retail Group on dates between January 1 2004 and October 25 2012.
The defendant was given four concurrent suspended jail sentences on each count before the court.
Eight more counts had been left on the books, the court heard.
In sentencing the defendant, Judge Paul Ramsey noted that Morris had benefited to the sum of £6,010 on dates between January 2004 and October 2012.
Judge Ramsey said the McBride Retail Group, the injured party, was the owner of 11 stores that supplied Spar stores in Fermanagh, Tyrone and other parts of the North.
The McBride Group employed 300 people.
The judge said the defendant had originally joined the company in Enniskillen but had risen rapidly to become the owner’s right hand man with responsibility for all 11 stores.
In October 2012 certain actions had caused concern to the owner who brought in the police.
The defendant gave a rational explanation at first that caused a lengthy, expensive investigation, that caused distress to the retailer’s staff. The court heard this led to casting suspicion on others.
Judge Ramsey said the thefts had a deep effect on the owner and the other employees in the company and he said the guilty plea was valuable as it saved witnesses from giving evidence that might be distressing to them.
Judge Ramsey said the usual sentence for a crime such as this would be 21 months after a contest.
The judge said defence counsel Des Fahy had stressed that his client was taking full responsibility for his actions. There were also personal issues alluded to in the probation report that would not be opened to the court. The court heard the defendant expressed shame and remorse for his actions.
The court was told the defendant had lost his good name as a result of admitting this offence.
There was a low likelihood of him re-offending and his current employer had a reference in court.
Judge Ramsey gave the defendant a one- year jail sentence suspended for two years on each count before the court.
The sentences are to run concurrently.
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