Dad stole champagne for party gift after losing cash at bookies
A father-of-three who was asked to buy champagne for an engagement party ended up stealing four bottles of bubbly after he lost all the money in a bookies on his way to the shop.
Paul Flood (53) had been given the money to go and buy the drink but instead gambled it away, a court heard.
Security caught him stealing €212 worth of champagne from a Marks & Spencer in the centre of Dublin.
Judge Anthony Halpin dismissed the case, leaving Flood without a conviction, after he made a €100 charity donation.
Flood, with an address at Liberty House, Dublin 1, pleaded guilty to theft.
Dublin District Court heard it happened at Marks & Spencer on Mary Street last April 8.
He called at the store and grabbed four bottles of champagne, a garda sergeant said.
Flood hid them in a bag and walked past the checkout before he was stopped by security staff.
Gardai were called and he was arrested and charged with stealing.
The court heard the champagne was recovered and returned to the shop.
Flood was said to have had a number of previous convictions dating back to the 1990s.
He had been sent on an errand to buy champagne for the engagement party at home but decided to drop in to a bookmaker's.
"Unfortunately, he went to the bookie's before he went to the shop and spent the money there," his solicitor Eoin Lysaght said.
The accused had not set out intending to steal and he apologised.
The lawyer added that Flood was studying languages on an adult education programme and wanted to help a charity.
He asked the judge to be lenient and to spare the accused a conviction.
Judge Halpin observed that some of Flood's previous convictions went back a long time.
Before striking the case out, he ruled that the €100 offered should go to the Garda Four Peaks Challenge charity, which supports mental health care.
The challenge takes in Carrantuohill, Co Kerry; Mweelrea, Co Mayo, Slieve Donard, Co Down and Lugnaquilla, Co Wicklow.
"Thank you, judge," Flood said when the case was concluded.