TWO young men were fined for burglary offences after pleading guilty on the day of their trial at Haverfordwest Magistrates Court.
Robert Mruk and a 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared on Friday (March 10).
They were due to face trial along with Jordan Probert, of Romily Crescent, Milford Haven, and another youth, in relation to two burglary offences and an attempted burglary in 2015.
The charges against Probert and the youth were dropped.
Mruk, aged 18, gave his address as Fleming Crescent, Haverfordwest, and he entered a guilty plea to a charge of attempted burglary other than a dwelling with intent to steal at Castle News, Pembroke between October 23 and 26 2015.
Two burglary charges against him were dismissed.
A 17-year-old boy entered a guilty plea to a charge if burglary other than a dwelling with intent to steal in relation to Halsteads DIY, Pembroke between October 23 and 26 2015. A second burglary charge and an attempted burglary charge against him were dismissed.
Evidence relating to the trial was not given to the defence until the day before it began, defence barrister Tom Scapens told the court, which was an “unacceptable delay”.
Prosecutor Vaughan Pritchard-Jones said that at on October 24 2015 the front door of Halstead DIY was smashed by the unnamed youth and when the owner attended following the alarm sounding at 2.30am he could see that various items had been moved around.
“Nothing had been stolen and his computer in his office had been damaged, it had been tipped on the floor,” he added.
Mr Pritchard-Jones said the owner stated he was “a local business trying to make a living” and he was “disappointed a member of the community would cause damage to the shop”.
The court heard that nearly 24 hours later, at 1.45am on October 25 2015, Mruk had attempted to gain entry to Castle News, setting the alarm off, by forcing the rear door and then through the roof.
Mr Pritchard-Jones told magistrates an internal memo from the officer involved in the case concerning the delay ran to 26 paragraphs so he was unable to summarise it.
Mr Scapens said the case was a “chronology of calamity and apathy” which led to his client facing sentence a few weeks before his 18th birthday having committing the burglary aged 15.
Forensic evidence from December 2015 was sent to his instructing solicitor after 5pm on Wednesday, March 8 and therefore was not received until March 9, said Mr Scapens.
He asked that his client be fined for his offence. “He will be 18 with the opportunity of a clean slate,” said Mr Scapens.
In defence of Mruk, Johnathan Webb reiterated that it was “highly unsatisfactory” that evidence from an expert 14 months ago was served the day before a trial.
“We have a situation where two youths are on bail for an inordinate amount of time with a trial hanging over their heads,” added Mr Webb.
A fingerprint of Mruk’s was found on a unit behind Castle News, the court heard.
“He is trying to put his offending lifestyle behind him and is working hard with the probation service,” said Mr Webb.
Both were fined £80, £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.