A MOUNTMELLICK woman convicted of stealing baby clothes while she was bound to a court order to keep the peace was last week ordered to engage with the probation service, with Judge Alan Mitchell warning her that any more infractions and a suspended sentence of three months will almost certainly be activated against her.
Lisa Shorten, 25 College Avenue, Mountmellick, was charged with theft from Dunnes Stores, Mountmellick Road, Portlaoise, on June 30. She stole three items of baby clothes, totalling €21. She was subsequently identified by Garda Tara Reddin from the store’s CCTV and arrested, with the clothes recovered.
Shorten has 14 previous convictions, including theft and road traffic matters. She was previously given a three-month suspended sentence and entered into a bond on February 7, to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for two years, meaning the latest crime was in violation of that bond.
Solicitor, Mr Philip Meagher explained that Shorten had given birth to a child born with a heroin addiction, due to Shorten’s own drugs difficulties. The baby had been removed by social services and is now staying with a foster family, and when the child was removed Shorten suffered a relapse with her drug addiction and became agitated and depressed.
Mr Meagher said that Shorten stole the clothes because she wanted to bring them to her child, but she didn’t have any money.
“She’s asking the court for a chance, notwithstanding the fact that she was given a chance before by Judge Staines,” said Mr Meagher, adding that she was author of her own misfortune.
Judge Mitchell adjourned the matter to September 12 for a probation report, with sentencing deferred until that date.
“Between now and then,” he warned Shorten, “any more criminal activity and almost certainly the three-month sentence will be imposed.”