A BUTCHER who stole more than €5,000 worth of "prime" beef and chicken from the specialist south Dublin shop where he worked claimed it had only been "off-cuts fit for a dog".
Jason Mahony (29) admitted stealing from Donnybrook Fair but disputed the value and quantity of the goods, insisting he had taken a fraction of the missing meat and that it was only cheaper cuts he had misappropriated.
He has been ordered to pay compensation to his former bosses to avoid jail.
Judge William Early found he had stolen the full amount claimed by the outlet, but told Mahony to pay back the original purchase cost – €2,400. The judge said he could not accept that the stolen meat was to be used as dog food.
Mahony, of Tymonville Lawn, Tallaght, pleaded guilty to stealing meat from Donnybrook Fair, Morehampton Road, on August 29, 2012.
The store manager told Dublin District Court 150kg of beef fillet and sirloin steak, cube roll and chicken fillets had been taken with a net value of €2,400 and a total retail value of €5,082.
The court heard he pushed the boxes of meat out of the main entrance to the premises on a trolley and put it in his car.
Cross-examined by defence solicitor Edward Flynn, the witness said there had been stock checks by the butchery manager and no other losses were reported.
Judge William Early asked the store manager if the meat taken had been "off-cuts fit for dogs and animals".
"We only stock premium cuts", he replied. "We don't stock off-cuts, we are renowned for it".
The accused said he had been a butcher for 13 years and it was the only mistake he had ever made in his career. He had lost his job as a result.
The judge adjourned the case to July 22 and said he would suspend a four-month sentence for a year if the compensation was paid.