JUDGE Catherine Staines last week declared she did not accept that a Portarlington woman charged with stealing groceries had simply “overlooked” the items, and she warned the woman not to underestimate the court’s intelligence.
Jean Ellis, 65 The Glen, Kilnacourt Woods, Port, was charged with theft from Aldi, Portarlington, on June 25 last year.
Inspector Martin Harrington told the court that Ellis stole groceries worth €33.67 from the store, all of which were returned.
The inspector said Ellis had one previous conviction, for the possession of knives.
Defence, Mr Philip Meagher questioned the previous conviction, saying that his client claimed the conviction should not have been recorded.
In relation to the theft charge, Mr Meagher said Ellis had paid for a number of items on the day, but then became “flustered by other matters” and forgot to pay for the remaining goods.
“She was careless and mistaken,” said Mr Meagher.
However, after reading the gardai’s account of the crime, Judge Staines remarked that Ellis had been observed placing the items into a bag which she then concealed, before she placed the items she paid for into another bag.
Mr Meagher replied that the shop does not provide shopping baskets and so his client had brought generic shopping bags with her.
When she arrived at the till Ellis had a number of bags, including the one which was overlooked. Mr Meagher said that Ellis had the money to pay for the goods and she now realises she needs to be more careful.
Judge Staines ruled that she did not accept what Ellis was saying and the defendant needed to be more honest with the court.
The matter was put back to March 7 for a probation report.
“Don’t underestimate the court, Ms Ellis,” warned Judge Staines.