Stolen car being sold on through website was to reduce a drug debt

By Fiona Ferguson

A MAN who became involved in selling on a stolen car in order to try and reduce his drug debt has been given a suspended sentence.

Karl Burke (27) was to have €500 taken off his cocaine debt for advertising the car on the Done Deal website and going through with the transaction.

Dublin Courts-4

Burke, of Oatfield Lawns, Clondalkin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to handling a stolen car and possession of a false Vehicle Registration Certificate (VRC) at The Park Shopping Centre, Carrickmines on October 30, 2014.

Judge Melanie Greally noted the man who had bought the car from Burke had endeavoured to protect himself by seeking proof of ownership but nevertheless was now out of pocket by €8,000.

Judge Greally noted Burke was no longer using drugs, and was taking concrete steps to improve his personal circumstances. She imposed a three-year sentence which she suspended in full.

Garda Paschal Carley told Garrett McCormack BL, prosecuting, that gardaí were alerted by an official at Wicklow County Council about suspicions they had in relation to a VRC a man was attempting to use to register a car.

Gardaí discovered this man and his brother had bought the car from Burke a few weeks earlier after seeing an advert on Done Deal. He had met Burke initially in Clondalkin and haggled about the price. The man wanted to see identification so they arranged to meet again later.

Later that day they met at Carrickmines and Burke produced a driver’s licence in a false name. The men took a photo of the driver’s licence and of Burke before handing over the money.

The garda investigation found the car had been stolen from Castleknock, it had a cloned chassis number and its registration plate related to a car which was on a lot in Finglas.

Gardaí were able to identify the photo of the man selling the car as Burke. He was arrested and co-operated fully with gardaí.

Burke told gardaí that he had become involved in the offence to pay off a cocaine “drug debt” of between €8,000 and €10,000. He was to have €500 taken off for his role.

Mary Rose Gearty SC, defending, said Burke no longer wants anything to do with drugs or his old associates. She said the father of two wishes to return to full-time education and continue the road he is now on.

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