A former community garda who set up an unauthorised garda advice clinic and used false invoices to bill local residents and UCC's Student Union for extra policing, has received a two year suspended sentence.
John O'Halloran, 47, who was based at Barrack Street Garda station in Cork city, but who resigned from the force last November, pleaded guilty to 11 sample charges from more than 200 charges of theft, corruption and fraud on dates between June 2009 and September 2015.
Sentencing O’Halloran today, Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said the scale of money paled into insignificance when viewed with what he did as a garda.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said the way he abused his position was "scandalous".
The appropriate sentence was three years but there were a number of mitigating factors, he said.
These included a guilty plea, which saved a complex four-week trial; the loss of his job as a garda as well as a gratuity payment for completing 30 years service; that he had repaid some of the monies; and that he had sought professional help.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said he did not see any reason to imprison O'Halloran, handing down a two year suspended sentence on all counts.
Judge Ó Donnabháin remarked that the former garda had been in the throes of a substantial gambling addiction.
"There is probably no more a insidious and harmful addiction than gambling and the damage it does is enormous," he said.
The judge noted that in five years, O’Halloran gambled over €150,000 and lost between €84,000-€85,000.