A MOUNTMELLICK woman convicted of harassing elderly people for money in the street has been given a suspended sentence and warned to keep away from all banks and post offices in Portlaoise.
Lisa Shorten, of 56 College View, Mountmellick, was charged with obstruction and failure to comply with the directions of the gardaí, at Main Street, Portlaoise, on January 25.
Inspector Martin Harrington gave evidence that Shorten and her partner were harassing people outside Bank of Ireland. They were blocking the footpath and asking people for money. Shorten was seen begging and was directed to leave the scene, but she failed to do so and was arrested.
Shorten has 12 previous convictions.
Defence, Ms Philip Meagher said his client has had difficulties with heroin since she was 14. He explained that her second child was born within recent weeks, but due to her high levels of methadone the baby has been placed in the special care unit of the hospital.
Mr Meagher said that Shorten had been in the presence of her partner on the day and they had spent the last of their money on the bus fare from Mountmellick to Portlaoise. He admitted that some of the people Shorten had asked for money were elderly, which might have caused extra concern.
Judge Staines said she had every sympathy for Shorten due to her heroin addiction and she remarked that Shorten was lucky to have secured a place at Coote Street addiction treatment centre in Portlaoise. The judge ruled that what Shorten did would have been very intimidating for older people and she imposed a three-month sentence, suspended for two years on Shorten’s own bond of €100.
Conditions of the suspended sentence are that Shorten must stay away from all banks and post offices in Portlaoise, she must attend Coote Street and she must stay off all illicit drugs.