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Man who stole spirits from Coppers told gardaí he was on way to toilet when he spotted opportunity

Each of the 20 bottles stolen was worth between €700 and €900, the court heard.

Image: Mark Stedman/

A MAN WHO stole 20 bottles of spirits worth up to €900 each from Copper Face Jacks nightclub in Dublin has told a judge he wants to become an “honest member of society”.

Father-of-two Jason Whelan (29) told gardaí it had been his intention to use the lavatory in the well-known city centre nightclub, but that he spotted an opportunity.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Whelan was observed on CCTV entering the club three times and going behind the counter to steal the bottles of spirit, which were worth between €700 and €900.

He was wearing a baseball cap and keeping his head down but at one point he looked up at a CCTV camera, leading to his subsequent identification and arrest.

Whelan, of Woodhazel Terrace, Ballymun, pleaded guilty to burglary at the nightclub on 27 May 2017.

He has 91 previous convictions, of which 43 are for burglaries. 18 of his previous offences were dealt with by the Circuit Court.

Garda Niall Murray told Siobhán Ní Chúlacháin BL, prosecuting, that a manager at Copper Face Jacks realised a few days after the offence that stock was missing from the upstairs premium bar.

The court heard gardaí reviewed CCTV and identified Whelan stealing the drink bottles, none of which were recovered.

Whelan wrote a letter to the sentencing judge which was read out on his behalf, in which he apologised to everyone he had hurt in his life.

In the letter, Whelan said he was ashamed and deeply sorry for stealing from people and for the hurt he’d caused his family. “I’ve reassessed my life,” he said. “I know it’s a process, but I really am trying.”

“There’s always hope for change. I really want to be an honest member of society, a good dad to my children, to work and earn an honest living. I don’t want to be the person who steals off others to buy drugs,” wrote Whelan.

His counsel Karl Monaghan BL said Whelan had begun using hash and prescribed tablets at the age of 11 and had progressed to taking heroin in his twenties in Mountjoy Prison.

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Monaghan said his client was now drug-free, on methadone, on a waiting list for a drug treatment course and had the prospect of obtaining employment.

Judge Melanie Greally accepted “the great note of sincerity” in Whelan’s letter, which she said he was backing up with genuine efforts at rehabilitation in prison.

“He still has a long road to travel,” said the judge.

She adjourned sentencing until 13 March next and ordered a probation report and prison governor’s report to be prepared.

About the author:

Jessica Magee

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