Legal aid denied

A PORTARLINGTON woman convicted of theft was last week denied legal aid at the district court, as Judge Catherine Staines remarked the woman had recently been able to afford a holiday to Spain.

A PORTARLINGTON woman convicted of theft was last week denied legal aid at the district court, as Judge Catherine Staines remarked the woman had recently been able to afford a holiday to Spain.

Claire Kelly, 1 Avondale Estate, stole various items worth €23.51 from Dunnes Stores, Mountmellick Road, Portlaoise, on May 11. Inspector Aidan Farrelly said that all items were recovered.

Kelly has no previous convictions, although she received an adult caution before for a similar offence.

Defence, Mr Philip Meagher handed in “a heartfelt letter” on behalf of his client. He said that Kelly has been doing childcare course over the years and work experience at crèches.

The matter was put back to September 12 for a probation report, with Judge Staines refusing legal aid.

“It’s simply incongruous to go on holiday to Spain and then expect the State to pay for a solicitor,” said the judge.