Coach caught with stolen monkey in car avoids jail term
A TRAINEE football coach caught with a stolen monkey caged in his car has been ordered to carry out community service to avoid jail.
Paul Murtagh (29), of Birchdale Park, Kinsealy, Co Dublin, and Lighthouse Apartments, East Wall, Dublin, admitted possessing one common South American Marmoset worth €1,500.
He was caught with the animal at Ravensdale Road, East Wall, Dublin, on October 1 just hours after it was taken in a burglary in Co Kildare.
The jobless father-of-three, who is taking part in a football coaching course, also pleaded guilty to having a stun gun at Marlborough Place, Dublin, on October 27, 2009.
He failed to get the case thrown out on the grounds of delay after the court heard gardai couldn't trace him until he was caught with the monkey.
Detective Garda Liam Eviston told Judge Bryan Smyth that as a result of a tip-off he stopped Murtagh's car and carried out a search.
"A monkey was found in a cage in the boot of the car," Det-Gda Eviston said.
The pet monkey had been taken during the course of a burglary at the home of a couple, in Co Kildare earlier the same day.
He agreed with defence counsel Cathal O Braonain that Murtagh, who had 31 prior convictions for motoring offences, was co-operative on arrest.
The animal was returned to its rightful owners, Judge Smyth also heard.
Det Garda Liam Eviston said Murtagh had driven to a house to get the monkey and denied knowing the pet was stolen.
However, when a garda carried out a search of Murtagh's car they found a stun gun in a schoolbag.
The court heard that Murtagh had bought the weapon legally during a trip to Santa Ponsa and brought it back to Ireland, however stun guns are banned here.
He was sentenced to 80 hours community service for possessing the stolen monkey and 120 hours in lieu of six months inside for the stun gun.