A delivery driver sprayed his employer’s vans with graffiti after being given his P45 despite being granted time off work.

The man appeared in court charged with damaging two vans belonging to the Asian Food Stores in Letterkenny in June last year.

Letterkenny District Court heard that Robert Stolarczyk used a special dye to scrawl slogans on the vans after being given the sack.

Photos of the damaged vans were handed into court with one slogan reading ‘Slave labour.’

The court was told that Mr Stolarczyk was originally paid €6 an hour as a trainee for the first year of his employment.

Solicitor for the accused man, Mr Kieran Dillon, told the court how his client, of 21 The Gardens, Ballymacool Woods, Letterkenny, had been given the time off but was then sacked.

He said he felt he felt he had no choice but to protest at how he had been treated by the company.

He said “He has been in Ireland since 2005 but was not aware of the intricacies of employment law here, although this is something he is now very familiar with.

He continued: “Shortly before this incident took place, my client asked for time off to pick up his father-in-law and this was agreed with his employer by way of text message. The following week he was not called into work and when he contacted his employer he was upset that he had received no notice.

“On June 26, my client tried to establish what was going on and he was told he was going to be unemployed and would get his P45. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back and he saw red, literally. He felt he had to make a protest and tell the world at large what was going on.”

The court had heard that on June 26, last year, at 12.30pm, gardai received a report of a vehicle which had been covered in graffiti at Asian Food Stores at the Ballyraine Business Park in Letterkenny.

A short time later they said that the same kind of paint had been used to write all over another van belonging to the same person at the Starlight Business Park.

The total damage caused to both, said Sergeant Jim Collins was €454.

Mr Dillon added that the wording referred in the graffiti attacks belonged to a “very peculiar set of circumstances”.

Mr Dillon told the court that the substance used to graffiti the vans was not traditional spray paint but was actually a product sold by the company he had worked for.

He added the colourant was mixed up by the defendant and placed into a manual spray pump.

“It washes off and my client tells me that his former colleagues washed it off that day with a bit of elbow grease. There was no lasting damage,” said the solicitor.

Mr Dillon concluded: “My client accepts he was incorrect in what he did but after one year of working, he felt he was not being treated fairly. He is a 46-year-old father of five who has a strong work ethic and is currently trying to get his HGV licence.”

Judge Kelly asked if the defendant was in a position to offer any compensation and Mr Dillon said that he would not be as he “feels so aggrieved at the way he was treated.”

He also questioned the invoice for €454 which was handed into court.

Judge Kelly adjourned matters until a sitting of the District Court on September 2 to obtain a Victim Impact Statement from the Injured Party and more information on the cost of the cleanup and whether or not there was a loss involved.

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