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24 Jan 2022

A man in Donegal court for stealing cladding claimed he thought he was allowed to take it

The defendant was also charged with driving without insurance

Court gavel

Court gavel

A man who was before the district court for theft of timber claimed he had understood that he was allowed to take the wood. 

The same defendant was charged with driving without insurance. He claimed that he didn’t know that the policy which was in his uncle’s name had been cancelled.

Mariusz Dziabkowski, 39, of 34 Marian Villas, Donegal Town was before Donegal District Court on Monday. He was charged with stealing 12 sheets of cladding valued at €254.82 property of Stockhouse Interiors Ltd at Drumrooske, Donegal Town on November 30, 2020. 

Dziabkowski was also charged with driving without insurance at Drumbeagh, Mountcharles, on March 13, 2021.

Sergeant Oliver Devaney told the court that gardaí had responded to a report from Stockhouse Interiors that cladding which had been left outside on Sunday was gone on Monday morning. The material was for construction work that was being carried out on the premises at the time. 

CCTV footage and further investigation led gardaí to acquire a search warrant for the defendant’s address. The cladding was found in his back garden.

The court heard that Dziabkowski had been given the benefit of the Probation of Offenders Act for five previous charges of theft, all at Letterkenny District Court in December 2019.

Solicitor Jim Corbett said: “He was under the apprehension that he was allowed to take some wood from the Stockhouse premises. The wood he was given permission to take was a lesser grade.

“He essentially put his hands up straight away. He was cooperative. 

“My client apologises profusely and he indicates that nothing like this will happen again.”

The solicitor appealed to Judge Sandra Murphy to be as lenient as possible.Ask you to be as lenient as possible.

Judge Murphy said: “This man has already been through the court process in relation to theft and he understands what theft is. He already got the benefit of the Probation Act. 

“If it was the first time out I would be dealing with it in that way. He was dealt with very leniently before.”

She imposed a fine of €100 and granted legal aid in respect of Mr Corbett.

Regarding the offence of driving without insurance, Sergeant Devaney told the court that the defendant’s Mercedes Benz had been stopped at a checkpoint. There was a policy displayed but it subsequently emerged that it had been cancelled.

Mr Corbett said: “The vehicle belonged to his uncle and he was led to believe that he was insured to drive the vehicle. The fact that the insurance policy was cancelled was unbeknownst to him. He would say that he wouldn’t have been driving the vehicle had he known that the insurance was cancelled.

“Losing his licence is going to be a major catastrophe for him. He is the father of two young children.”

Judge Murphy said: “The difficulty here is that this man had already been through the court for driving without insurance. This previous conviction is only February 2020. It is very recent. 

“My hands are tied.”

The judge imposed a fine of €250 and a four-year disqualification from holding a driving licence. 

Dziabkowski was then asked to produce his driving licence for the court. He said he only had a Polish licence which had expired. He then said the original was lost but that he had a photocopy. 

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