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Saturday 16 December 2017

Dubliner with 229 convictions jailed for smoking on Luas

Jean Champ in 2009
Jean Champ in 2009

A Dublin man with more than 200 previous convictions was jailed yesterday after being caught smoking on the Luas.

Jean Champ pleaded guilty at Tallaght District Court to a number of public order offences.

He has 229 previous convictions, all for public order offences.

Garda Sergeant Eithne Madden told Judge Patricia McNamara that, at 10.20pm on July 13, Champ had been smoking on a Luas tram and was asked to leave by security.

She said Champ became abusive and aggressive, and was later arrested when gardai were called.

Sgt Madden added that, on May 27, Champ was in the Insomnia coffee shop on Upper Abbey Street. He was drunk and was asked to leave the shop.

She said Champ became aggressive and was later arrested.

Champ, (60), of Oak House, Benburb Street, Dublin 7, admitted public drunkenness and breaching the peace at Insomnia, Upper Abbey Street, Dublin 1, on May 27.

He also admitted public drunkenness and breaching the peace at the Belgard Luas terminal, Tallaght, on July 13.

Champ's defence lawyer Kevin Tunney said his client was homeless and living in a hostel.

He said Champ was originally from Tullamore and all his siblings had emigrated to Canada.

Detox

Mr Tunney said his client had a problem with alcohol.

"Prison could be a good detox for him," said Judge McNamara.

She jailed Champ for two months for the breach of the peace on May 27 and fined him €40 for public drunkenness.

She also sentenced him to two months in jail, consecutive to the first sentence, for the second breach of the peace on July 13, and €50 for the second public drunkenness charge.

In 2009, Champ pleaded guilty to assault causing harm after he beat a widow and mother-of-six so violently it left blood splattered throughout his flat.

The victim, Bernadette Barnes (48), died 10 days later in hospital from a heart attack, but it was accepted this was not related to the injuries she received in the assault.

Champ, who was 51 at the time, first tried to tell gardai that he was in custody at the time of the assault, but this was found to be false.

He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm and to attempting to intentionally or recklessly cause Ms Barnes serious harm at his home on January 19, 2006.

The court heard that, on the morning in question, the building's caretaker saw the woman lying face down outside the flat, "covered in blood".

Champ told gardai he "boxed her" because she had a man in the flat while he was out and would not tell him who it was.

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