By Aoife Nic Ardghail
A Carlow publican has received a two year suspended sentence for stealing over €8,500 from a former employer after a series of personal tragedies.
Brian O'Kane, 45, admitted he had stolen up to €60 a night for drink while working as senior bar manager at The Porterhouse Central pub in Dublin.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard O'Kane had had three family bereavements and a marriage breakdown in the months before his offending.
Karl Monahan BL, defending, submitted to Judge Gerard Griffin that his client had turned to alcohol to deal with this “chaotic” time but had since gotten back on his feet.
O'Kane, of Royal Oak, Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow, pleaded guilty to stealing €8,589 from David Morrissey at The Porterhouse Central, Nassau Street, Dublin on dates from January to July 2015. He has no previous convictions.
Garda Jonathan Petrie told John Quirke BL, prosecuting, that O'Kane would steal by voiding transactions at the till and pocketing the cash paid by customers.
This caused a stock issue which was noticed by the bar's owner, Mr Morrissey, and an internal investigation was launched.
The court heard O'Kane initially helped with the investigation, which involved viewing CCTV and checking dockets.
Gda Petrie said Mr. Morrissey eventually noticed that a large number of the voided transactions originated from O'Kane.
Mr. Morrissey later told gardai that he had regarded O'Kane as a friend as well as a colleague and that the breach of trust has changed the way he views people in general.
O'Kane admitted after the arrest that he didn't know how much cash he had taken, but it was between €50 and €60 per night. He told gardai that he stole so he could drink.
Mr. Monaghan submitted to Judge Griffin that his client had brought the full amount of money he had stolen to court to be handed over to his former employer.
He said O'Kane had been taking amounts that seemed small but which added up because he was not dealing well with personal tragedies. Counsel said O'Kane had since gotten back on his feet and was running a pub in Carlow with his brother.
Judge Griffin said he considered the offending at the lower mid range of the scale.
He suspended the sentence for three years, taking into consideration O'Kane's early guilty plea, genuine remorse and that he had not come to adverse garda attention before or since.