09 Aug 2022

Woman took drugs into Laois jail as she was worried about her son

Woman took drugs into Laois jail as she was worried about her son

A woman with a previous conviction for smuggling drugs into prison who was caught bringing prescribable tablets into the Midlands Prison while she was visiting her son has been given a suspended jail sentence.

At last week’s sitting of Portlaoise District Court, Finola Prendergast (43), with an address at 4 Ashfield, Monksland, Athlone, was charged with bringing drugs into the prison, on July 19 last.

Garda Moriarty gave evidence that the accused had three previous convictions, including convictions for a similar offence of unlawfully bringing drugs into prison.

Defence, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick said that the accused had been visiting her son in prison.

The tablets she had with her were a prescribable item, but her son did not have a prescription.

She was trying to bring in the drugs as she was worried about his mental health, said Ms Fitzpatrick.

Defence said it had been hoped to have the benefit of a psychiatric rerport on the accused, who Ms Fitzpatrick said had been involved in a childcare issue.

Ms Fitzpatrick said the accused had an over-reliance on drink and her children were taken into care, but she may get them back next June and a prison sentence for this latest offence would be detrimental to that.

Defence also said that the gardaí had got full cooperation from the accused.

As the accused had previous convictions for the same offence, Judge Catherine Staines imposed a six-month sentence, suspended for one year on the accused's own bond of €100, with recognisance fixed in the event of an appeal.

“If you bring drugs into the prison again you’ll come before me and go to prison,” the judge warned the accused.

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