A Portlaoise woman caught by gardaí with a stolen phone has been given a suspended prison sentence.
At last week’s sitting of Portlaoise District Court, Andrea Kelly (43), with an address at 35 O’Moore Place, Portlaoise, was charged with handling stolen property, at her home address on June 14 this year.
Sgt JJ Kirby gave evidence that on June 14 last, there was a search of the house while a number of people were present.
The accused was found with a black mobile phone in her possession, which had been stolen previously from a vehicle.
The accused had ten previous convictions, including five for theft.
Defence, Mr Barry Fitzgerald said that his client had “no hand, act or part” in taking the phone.
However, Judge Staines said that if people were not prepared to receive stolen goods then there would be no point in stealing them, and gave her opinion that handling stolen property was nearly worse than stealing it.
Mr Fitzgerald said the party who stole the phone, who the accused wouldn’t name, was in the house and at one point he went to a shop, but left the shop owing €35.
The accused funded him the €35, but she retained the phone to ensure the money was paid back.
Defence said the accused accepted she knew the phone was stolen, and the company she had kept was not good.
Mr Fitzgerald explained that the accused had suffered with a heroin addiction, but she has been clean since 2010.
Judge Staines suggested the accused do community service, but the court heard she is on 105ml of methadone, which is considered too high a dose to be eligible for community service.
In that event, Judge Staines imposed a three-month sentence, suspended for one year on the accused’s own bond of €100.
The judge noted that the accused was on methadone, had seven children, was not suitable for community service, and it was almost two years since her last offence.
Warning the accused that if she came before the court again she could go to prison, Judge Staines said; “I suggest you change the company you bring into your house.”