Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland
Test Drive

Dublin man accused of stealing cars during test drives and selling them to innocent customers

Stephen Corbally is accused of stealing four cars advertised for sale online on three dates this year and on May 31, 2020.

A DUBLIN MAN is facing trial accused of stealing cars on sale after being let take them for “test drives” and later selling them to “innocent” buyers.

Stephen Corbally, 26, with an address at a hostel on Marlborough Street, Dublin 1, faces a litany of charges for offences going back to 2018 and has been held on €2,500 bail.

He appeared before Judge Cephas Power at Dublin District Court on Saturday.

He is accused of stealing four cars advertised for sale online on three dates this year and on May 31, 2020.

The cleaner and part-time restaurant worker has “deception” charges for inducing two people to buy stolen cars.

Two of them have been recovered.

Gardai have also charged him with stealing €2,300 in cash from a woman at a party on May 2, 2021, and endangering the lives of gardaí in Finglas north Dublin on November 22, 2018.

Garda Subomi Etti objected to bail, citing the seriousness of the case and fears the accused would evade justice, intimidate witnesses or dispose of the illegally acquired property.

The garda alleged Mr Corbally contacted car sellers via the DoneDeal and Facebook Marketplace websites.

In each case, “he asked to take it for a test drive”, the court heard.

It was alleged that the owners handed him the keys before he drove off and “failed to return”.

The total value of the vehicle was approximately €8,000.

The garda told the court CCTV evidence had been obtained; however, under questioning from defence counsel Karl Monahan, he agreed there was no formal identification of his client.

The court heard the endangerment charge involved allegations that Mr Corbally reversed a vehicle into a garda patrol “at speed” and “left the scene”, resulting in a garda getting injured.

Pleading for bail, Mr Corbally said he would abide by conditions. He claimed to have health problems: trauma due to his mother’s murder in 2017 and a recent diagnosis of a severe illness.

However, he added, he now worked two jobs and agreed to abide by bail terms.

Counsel was instructed his client would need to attend hospital appointments and that he was about to be housed by the council.

The barrister said that Gardaí knew his location and would abide by bail conditions.

Mr Monahan submitted that the courts had granted bail to defendants accused of more substantial frauds.

Gardaí must obtain directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions to decide if the case will remain in the district court or go to the circuit court, which has broader sentencing powers.

Judge Powers said it was a serious case involving the sale of stolen cars to innocent buyers, and he remarked that it was likely to be sent to the higher court.

Judge Powers set bail in his bond of €2,000, of which half must be lodged, and he required approval of a €500 independent surety.

On release, he must sign on daily at a garda station, notify of any address change, stay out of the Coolmine area in Dublin, and have no contact with witnesses.

He was remanded with consent to bail to appear at Cloverhill District Court next week.

Mr Corbally, who has not yet indicated how he will plead, was also granted legal aid.