Fraud trial delays are 'terribly unfair on the accused' - judge
A judge has said it is unfair that fraud cases are coming before the courts four years after they were committed.
Judge Patrick Quinn made his comments when sentencing a man who stole €4,300 from a small financial services firm he was working for in 2014.
Detective Garda Peter Kenny told the judge that there was a large backlog of fraud cases.
Judge Quinn said he was not making any criticism of gardai but said it seemed "terribly unfair" for the accused that such a "large gap" would occur.
In the case at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Kevin Fay (42), of Woodbank Drive, Finglas, Dublin, pleaded guilty to three sample counts of theft from Provident Personal Credit, at Ballyboggin Business Centre, Cabra, on dates between September 2013 and January 2014.
Fay, a married father-of-two, was working as an agent for the company. He began submitting false loan applications on behalf of existing customers and keeping the money himself. He stole a total of €4,300.
He told gardai he did it to get himself "out of a hole" after his other job as a taxi driver "disintegrated". He had no previous convictions.
Judge Quinn initially said he would jail Fay for three months, stating that he had to deter employees in positions of trust from stealing from their employers.
However, the judge changed his decision after Luigi Rea BL, defending, begged the court to give Fay an hour to put together a sum of compensation.
Fay returned to court with €1,100 and Judge Quinn suspended the entirety of a one-year prison sentence, on condition that Fay pay the remaining €3,200 back to the company in the next two years.
The court heard Fay had been back working as a roofer since 2016 and earns €580 a week. Mr Rea provided a reference from his employer to the court.
Judge Quinn had said that Fay had enough time before the court date to provide the money owed and added it was almost insulting that he had come to court with nothing.
He said his initial sentence was on the basis that no reasonable effort had been made to return what was stolen.