A woman who went out and shoplifted less than a month after her last appearance in court for similar offences has been given community service and warned that she will go to prison if she offends again.
At last week’s Portlaoise District Court, Patrycja Bruszniewska (29), 52 Woodgrove, Ballyfin Road, Portlaoise, faced two counts of theft at Laois Shopping Centre on October 4 this year.
Inspector Eamon Curley gave evidence that the accused entered Tesco in Portlaoise on October 4 and left the store with items of clothing which were not paid for.
The incident was captured on CCTV and all items were recovered.
The accused had 17 previous convictions, including 12 for theft.
The most recent theft conviction was on September 8, for which she was given community service.
Defence, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick said her client had been shopping with a friend on the day and certain items in the trolley were her friend’s.
These items were covered in the trolley and were not paid for, since Ms Fitzpatrick.
Defence went on to say that the accused had an offer of employment at a fast food outlet, with the work due to begin that day at 3pm.
The accused had €200 compensation to offer the court.
“She’s doing what she can to integrate into society,” said Ms Fitzpatrick, adding that her client was the only one in the family who could speak English.
The court heard that on separate matters, the accused had been sentenced to four months in jail back in February, but was released after four weeks.
In ruling, Judge Catherine Staines said: “A prison sentence is the last resort, but it seems absolutely meaningless is she’s released four weeks into a four month prison sentence.”
Ordering that the €200 compensation be handed over, Judge Staines imposed 160 hours’ community service in lieu of six months in prison.
“If you shoplift again I will be giving you 24 months, because that’s the only way I can guarantee you’ll serve six months,” Judge Staines warned the accused.