Ex-garda jailed for stealing €43 from a fellow officer’s lunchbox in station; another Paper, another Angle, on this Garda Arkins. Words are hard to come by Here? Bless his Mother?

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Thief who has since left the force receives seven-month sentence

Paul Arkins had refused to volunteer his fingerprints to gardaí investigating the theft but these were taken after his arrest
Swords Garda Station where the theft occurred

Paul Arkins had refused to volunteer his fingerprints to gardaí investigating the theft but these were taken after his arrest

July 14 2022 02:30 AM

A former garda has been jailed for seven months for breaking into a colleague’s locker and stealing €43 in cash from a lunchbox inside.

Paul Arkins (33) was a serving member of the force and under “severe stress” following a relationship breakdown when he took the money, a court heard.

Sentencing him, Judge Bryan Smyth said it was a “serious breach of trust” and Arkins had convictions for assault and trespass.

Arkins, who has since resigned from An Garda Síochána, pleaded guilty to theft and criminal damage to a locker at Swords Garda Station, Dublin, on April 11, 2019.

Dublin District Court heard he took €43 from a lunchbox in the locker and, following an investigation, matching fingerprints were found.

Arkins, of Portland Row in north inner-city Dublin, entered his plea last month and the case came back before Judge Smyth for a victim-impact statement.

The court was also given defence testimonials and letters from a football club, youth club, a GP and the accused’s mother.

Arkins resigned from the force last September and was now a student, retraining in sports and fitness, barrister Donal Pattison, defending, said.

The thief had been suffering from anxiety, was on medication for this and under “severe stress and pressure” at the time of the offence, the court heard.

  • Judge Smyth said Arkins had been given a partly suspended sentence last October for an assault in 2018, with a trespass charge taken into consideration.
Swords Garda Station where the theft occurred

Swords Garda Station where the theft occurred

The locker break-in happened after that incident and this was of concern to the court, Judge Smyth said.

Mr Pattison said a “very meaningful relationship” had broken down and the accused was finding it very difficult. He had sought the assistance of his GP in relation to stress resulting from the break-up.

Arkins had served time for the assault and being in custody had been a “very difficult experience for him”.

“The prospect of a custodial sentence is weighing heavily on Mr Arkins’s mind and he will do anything he can to avoid that,” Mr Pattison said.

He had compensation for the money taken and the judge said the sum should be handed over for the victim.

Judge Smyth said what happened was a “serious breach of trust” and the victim-impact statement had set out the effect not just on the injured party “but on his colleagues”.

“That is not lost on Mr Arkins for one second,” Mr Pattison said.

CCTV ‘manipulated’

The judge said the case warranted a prison sentence, imposing the seven months on the theft charge with the other offence taken into consideration.

Previously, Detective Garda Caitriona Beirne said the locker was technically examined after the theft and a number of gardaí were fingerprinted with no match.

Arkins refused to volunteer his prints but they were taken after his arrest and a positive match was taken from the locker.

The accused made no admissions when he was later re-arrested, detained and interviewed.

CCTV footage from the car park was viewed and it was believed the camera had been “manipulated”.

There was no evidence Arkins manipulated the CCTV, but Det Gda Beirne said he was on his own in the public office where the controls were located.

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