A father of nine caught acting as the “front man” in the selling of stolen cars advertised on website Done Deal has received a suspended sentence.
David McDonagh (42), of St Margaret's Halting Site, Ballymun, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to handling stolen property on April 6, 2015 and possession of stolen property at Blanchardstown Retail Park on April 16, 2015.
Judge Melanie Greally sentenced him to two and a half years imprisonment, which she suspended for two and a half years on condition he keep the peace and be of good behaviour upon release.
She also ordered him to pay €4,200 in compensation to the victim and to engage with the probation service for 12 months.
The judge also suspended him from driving for two years due to him pleading guilty to using a vehicle without insurance and failing to produce insurance.
Detective Garda Mark Ferris told Lorcan Staines BL, prosecuting, that a Volkswagen Passat, stolen in March 2015, was advertised for sale on the Done Deal website the following month and bought by a member of the public on April 6th. It was later found to be fitted with false number plates.
On April 14, 2015 a Volkswagen Golf was stolen and later advertised for sale on the Done Deal website. Two days later a man met the seller, who said his name was David Byrne, and agreed to buy the car.
Det Gda Ferris said he had suspicions about what was going on in the area and arrested McDonagh, who had a licence in the name of David Byrne, after observing the transaction.
He said in relation to the two Volkswagen vehicles, the registration plates, NCT and motor tax discs were all fake.
McDonagh told gardaí he owed “a few bob”, which he said was not a large sum, describing it as “drinking money”. He would not say where he had got the fake documentation for the cars “for safety reasons”.
He said he had the driving licence in a false name so he could not be identified afterwards.
McDonagh has 81 previous convictions, 59 of which are for road traffic offences. He has one previous conviction for theft from Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
At the original sentence hearing Anne Marie Lawlor SC, defending, said McDonagh was the “front man” for the operation and he had not come to any garda attention since this offence.
On Wednesday, Ms Lawlor said the probation report showed he was at a lower risk of re-offending than he had been in May. She said McDonagh had the €4,200 in compensation for the victim with him in court.
Judge Greally said while McDonagh had committed a serious offence, his guilty plea and full admission to gardaí were sufficient mitigation to suspend the totality of his sentence.