Man (56) broke into neighbour’s St Helier flat and stole his clothes

Royal Court. Picture: JON GUEGAN. (37062542) (38018794)

A MAN who broke into his neighbour’s flat and stole clothes has been spared prison to give him a chance “to make a fresh start”.

Instead Jurats at the Royal Court sentenced 56-year-old David Gallie to 180 hours of community service and imposed a 12-month probation order for the offences of illegal entry and theft. Gallie was found guilty of the crimes following a three-day trial.

The court heard that a 78-year-old neighbour of Gallie’s had lost a set of keys to his flat in St Helier in November 2022 – and over the course of the next two months noticed signs that someone had been in his property.

Lights he had switched off were turned on and some items of clothing had disappeared, so the victim compiled a list of missing garments and later handed it to the States police.

Crown Advocate Christina Hall said that on the afternoon of New Year’s Day 2023, the pensioner came home from the shops to find the missing keys in his front door and Gallie in his flat.

Police officers searched Gallie’s own flat and “found items of clothing that appeared to match the clothes on the list”, according to Advocate Hall.

However, during a police interview he denied the charge, she said. “He said he had a difficult relationship with his neighbour and the neighbour had made it up to get him into trouble.

“He maintained that all the clothes were his, although he said he had not actually worn them.”

Advocate Hall said Gallie had been guilty of malicious damage in July 2022 after throwing a jar of urine at his neighbour’s door, for which he received a caution.

But she said she believed Gallie had a better chance of rehabilitation with a non-custodial sentence, and recommended probation and 240 hours of community service.

Advocate Rui Tremoceiro, defending, agreed but argued for a shorter community service order.

He said it was a case of “bad feeling between neighbours” and pointed out: “The victim knew the defendant. He said he felt uneasy but not totally surprised.

“He was not particularly frightened or shaken by the encounter,” he added. “This is not a standard, run-of-the-mill case. The defendant’s social and emotional immaturity are well documented.”

He suggested a suspended sentence or 180 hours of community service.

Commissioner Alan Binnington told Gallie: “You pleaded not guilty and you have shown no remorse. Ordinarily you would be imprisoned.”

Gallie has since moved out of the block of flats and is no longer near the victim, so the Commissioner added: “You have the opportunity to make a fresh start.”

The Jurats sitting were Jane Ronge and Alison Opfermann.

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