A Portlaoise woman who refused to assist garda investigations after a stolen trailer was found in her garden shed has been given community service in lieu of prison for handling stolen property.
Nicola Green (22), O’Moore Place, Portlaoise, was charged with the offence at last week’s sitting of Portlaoise District Court.
Inspector Ollie Baker gave evidence that on September 25 this year, the gardaí conducted a search at the accused’s residence.
In the garden shed was located a steel trailer and a quad bike. The accused refused to answer the gardaí’s questions about the items.
The court heard that the trailer had been stolen on September 15, but the gardaí have yet to establish an injured party for the quad bike.
The accused had no previous convictions.
Defence, Mr Barry Fitzgerald said his client had not been involved in the thefts, but the items were left in her possession and there was “a significant third party” involved.
He said the trailer had been taken by a third party whom the accused knew, but she had no knowledge of this until it was left in her shed.
Mr Fitzgerald said his client had feared “great personal consequences”.
“She should have acted differently, but in her mind were the consequences for her,” said defence.
Insp Baker told the court that it was not expected that any charges would be brought against the person involved as there was not enough evidence.
The inspector said that the chief suspect had been present at the house during the search and he will be charged with obstruction.
Remarked Judge Catherine Staines: “If she made a statement that would provide the evidence.”
In sentencing, Judge Staines said: “In my view, handling stolen property is more serious than stealing, if there weren’t people willing to handle it there’d be no point in stealing it.”
The judge imposed community service on the accused, recommending 150 hours in lieu of six months in jail. The matter was adjourned for a community service report.