Man fails in appeal against nine-month sentence for stealing from 97-year-old

Accused had duped pensioner into handing over cash in supermarket carpark

John “Buddy” O’Brien, outside  Mallow Court last year. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Cork Courts

John “Buddy” O’Brien, outside Mallow Court last year. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Cork Courts


A 42-year-old man has failed in his appeal against a nine-month jail sentence for stealing €700 from a 97-year-old man when he duped the pensioner into handing over the cash.

John “Buddy” O’Brien, a native of Clash Road, Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick, had lodged an appeal against the jail term imposed by Judge Brian Sheridan at Mallow District Court in October 2018 for stealing the cash from Dr Jack Burke at O’Keeffe’s SuperValu car park in Newmarket, Co Cork on January 19th, 2017.

But when the appeal case was called at Mallow Circuit Court on Tuesday, solicitor, Cathal Lombard informed the court that he had received a faxed medical certificate from O’Brien’s solicitor in Dublin that a member O’Brien’s family was ill and he applied to have the case adjourned to another date.

However, Judge Brian O’Callaghan refused to adjourn the matter and instead he struck out the appeal and affirmed the nine-month jail sentence imposed by Judge Sheridan on O’Brien whose addresses were given as Barrack Street in Waterford and Ballyspillane, Killarney, Co Kerry,

Dr Burke had told Mallow District Court last year how he had gone to do his shopping at SuperValu on the day in question and as he was walking from his car towards the rear shop entrance with his shopping trolley, a man drove in to the car park in a dark-coloured car and beckoned him to approach him.

“As I passed he said he wanted to see me for a minute – he said there was some trouble with notes – he said he was a police man and he showed me an identification document and a badge,” said Dr Burke, adding he couldn’t remember exactly whether the man said he was a policeman or a bank official.

“He asked me had I any notes on me because there were a lot of forged notes going around . . . I took out €700 that I had on me – €700 in €50s and a couple of €20s and he said he wanted to take a look at them to see if they were forged notes and the minute he got them in his hands, he was gone.”

Judge Sheridan, who dismissed a second charge of impersonating a member of An Garda Síochána against O’Brien, convicted him of the theft charge following a four-hour hearing where some four other witnesses including investigating officer, Det Garda Padraig Reddington, gave evidence for the State.

Following O’Brien’s conviction on the theft charge, Det Garda Reddington gave Judge Sheridan’s details of O’Brien’s criminal record which totalled 109 previous convictions and which included five for theft, 23 for larceny as well as four for impersonating a garda.