It was so said the Judge, ‘one of the nastiest and meanest’ that he had encountered, as he jailed the inaptly named ‘best man’ Martyn Galvin for 20 months on 18th August 2016. And it’s hard to disagree.
An unnamed man was to get married, and picked Mr Galvin, aged 30, as his best man. One of the best man’s job is obviously to organise the stag do, and Mr Galvin appeared to take these duties seriously.
He planned a trip to Prague for them, to be joined by 16 of their friends, to be followed up by a day at the races. Mr Galvin took money from them all to make the bookings but, when they got to the Airport to fly out, there appeared to be a problem – no flights were booked.
Mr Galvin blamed the travel operators for getting the dates wrong, but it transpired that he had in fact pocketed the money, and done nothing with it.
We don’t know the reason, but the news reports noted that Mr Galvin had a strong gambling addiction, so this may be the reason.
Unfortunately, Mr Galvin did not stop there. At some point (it seems possibly to cover for the above when his account began to unravel) he pretended to have bowel cancer, which was another lie.
The total sentence was 20 months. It seems that Mr Galvin pleaded guilty, and so got credit for the plea. On that basis, the starting point was 2½ years – a very long time for what was a theft of about £8,000.
There are Sentencing Guidelines – see page 3. These are much less helpful than the previous one, but looking at it, it would probably be categorised as Culpability A (because the high level of trust involved) and Category 3 (because of the level of loss).
It may be that the Judge ‘bumped it up’ to Category 2 due to the extra emotional harm that was caused, although that may include a bit of double counting.
Even if it is a 2A offence, this is still a top whack sentence. It is a nasty offence, but we would have thought that a sentence of about 2 years would have the top of what would be appropriate. It may be that there was not an early guilty plea however, and the starting point was closer to that.
But we’ll see – it may be that there will be an appeal, which we will keep an eye out for, but this may be seen as a case that is best treated as being outside the guidelines.