A woman who stole a bottle of brandy because she wanted something nice for herself for Christmas has been warned that if she does not complete community service she could go to prison.
Carmen Rostas (29), Cosby Avenue, Fairgreen, Portlaoise, was charged with theft, from Tesco, Portlaoise, on December 24, 2017.
When she first appeared before the district court in February last, the court heard the accused stole a bottle of brandy.
Sgt JJ Kirby said the accused had eight previous convictions, three for theft.
Defence, Ms Thomasina Connell said her client, a mother of three, wanted something nice for herself for Christmas and took an opportunity.
The accused, a Romanian national, came to Ireland in 2004 and was on social welfare.
She was trying to do the best she could and it was Christmas Eve, said Ms Connell.
Remarked Judge Catherine Staines: “I would understand if she took toys or food for the children, but a bottle of brandy?”
The judge imposed 80 hours’ community service in lieu of three months in prison, with the matter put back to March 22 for a community service report.
When the case returned to court last week, an issue was raised over the accused’s ability to do community service as she looks after her children.
As the accused’s children were being looked after that day by her husband, Judge Staines asked could her husband not look after them while she did the community service.
“Does she realise this is an alternative to prison?” asked Judge Staines, pointing out that the accused has eight previous convictions.
Through a Romanian interpreter, the accused replied that this was possible. However, probation officer, Ms Ann Walsh said that there may be concerns with the accused working on a site with all men. She said the work was physical and language could be an issue.
Judge Staines asked could the accused not work somewhere where she wouldn’t be surrounded by males.
Ms Walsh replied that it could be difficult to get garda vetting if the work was not taking place on site.
Judge Staines reaffirmed her order of 80 hours’ community service in lieu of three months in prison, and warned the accused that if she did not do it, she would be brought back to court and could face three months in prison.