An Athy-based reverend was sentenced to five months in custody at Athy District Court on Tuesday last for theft of his neighbour's cheque, worth €184.77.
Marek Pilo, with an address listed as 10 Corran Ard, Athy banked a cheque that did not belong to him on January 11, 2017, at Bank of Ireland, Emily Square, Athy.
The court heard that injured party was sent a Christmas card from an uncle overseas with the cheque inside. The injured party never received the card and it was delivered to the defendant's address instead.
It was posted to his home by mistake as he lives near to the injured party. The cheque was addressed to the injured party and not to the defendant.
The defendant told the court that he is a religious preacher who preaches the word of God. “I am preaching eight years,” he said.
His solicitor Richard Wixted said that this was a 'slightly unusal case'. He said that his client is a preacher of a Christian sect called the Church of Ireland.
“He receives cheques and donations and he thought it was a donation - he foolishly did not read the card or the envelope.”
Judge Desmond Zaidan said that his argument was 'hogwash'.
“I don't accept a word - it's hogwash. This was a gift for the injured party from her uncle. The reverend decides to cash the cheque and not read the name on the cheque or the card.”
He sentenced the defendant to five months in custody. “I have no doubt this was an opportunistic offence.”