A MAN has been sentenced to nine months in prison for being in a jeep that was stolen in Enniskillen.
Thomas Ward (24) of Glenmore Park, Muirhevanmor, Dundalk, Co Louth appeared at Carrick-on-Shannon District Court last week where he pleaded guilty to being in possession of a stolen Nissan Qashqai.
In evidence, Sgt Maire McGarry said Gardai were contacted by the PSNI on February 16 in relation to a burglary in Enniskillen. Sgt McGarry said Gardai from Manorhamilton came across the stolen jeep close to Glenfarne but the road conditions were said to treacherous.
At 4am the jeep, worth €20,000, was located by Gardai at Marian Road, Boyle. Two men were sitting in the rear and a juvenile female passenger sitting in the front passenger seat. The court was told there was no allegation Ward, who had 67 previous convictions for offences on both sides of the border, had been driving the jeep.
Giving his account of events Ward, who denied knowing the jeep was stolen, said he’d been in Belfast and got a bus to Enniskillen.
“A mate of mine offered me a lift to Dublin. This man was bringing me to Sligo or wherever it was,” he said, adding the driver of the jeep jumped out leaving him behind with his partner and a co-accused.
In reply Sgt McGarry said: “The injured party, whose jeep was stolen said two males and a female were involved so something doesn’t add up.”
“He has pleaded guilty to possession of a stolen vehicle but now he is saying he didn’t know it was stolen,” said Judge Kevin Kilrane.
Judge Kilrane added: “You have given me a version of events that doesn’t make sense. I can’t have stuff shovelled up to me saying, take it or leave it.
“He says he did not know the vehicle was stolen until he was arrested. He has to make up his mind. I can’t be forced into accepting a plea where he says he didn’t know the vehicle was stolen.”
After a short adjournment the case was recalled with Ward addressing the court: “I’m guilty for being a passenger in a vehicle I knew was stolen.”
Judge Kilrane remanded the defendant in custody for a period of one week for the conclusion of the case. When the case was revisited at last Tuesday’s, sitting of the court Mr Ward was sentenced to nine months in prison.
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