In 2001, JP Lambe was asked by a group of people to act as the principal organiser of a multi-million Euro robbery.
Lambe is not a man struggling to exist on the fringes of society. He is a retired businessman, a respected member of his community, a leading figure in the local GAA. He owns his own house, has a good pension and a nice little nest egg of €250,000 in the bank.
Lambe claims (and apparently some very intelligent people are prepared to believe him) that he did not benefit from the robbery of approximately €4.4 million from the people of Galway.
He was apparently just helping out friends when he agreed to organise the illegal price fixing of gas, oil and kerosene. (Oh, and did you hear that the Pope is thinking of converting to Islam?)
Lambe was not shy about achieving his mission. Most of the fuel distributors were happy to cooperate in this robbery but a few refused. Lambe worked hard in his attempts to “induce’ these honest operators to partake in his criminal activity.
Neither was the presiding judge, Katherine Delahunt, in any doubt about the central role played by Lambe in this major crime.
“Without his talent, acumen and knowledge, this kind of distortion could probably not have functioned at any significant level”.
So, major criminal activity involving the theft of millions and the judge is convinced that without Lambe the operation would not have been effective â€“ What was the sentence? Six-months suspended and a €15,000 fine. In other words, this criminal got off.
The message is clear. If you are operating or thinking of organizing a cartel to rob millions from the public â€“ go ahead, the chances of getting caught are tiny. And even if you are caught, it’s likely you will just receive a slap on the wrist.