'Cultural attitude' of woman no excuse for 11 begging and shoplifting offences

'Cultural attitude' of woman no excuse for 11 begging and shoplifting offences

A woman convicted of begging and shoplifting comes from a culture where such behaviour is more acceptable, the district court has been told.

At last week’s court, Maria Radulescu (19), Hilltop House, Ridge Road, Portlaoise, was charged with six counts of begging, outside Aldi and Lidl, Portlaoise, on dates between March and October this year; and three counts of theft, two from Lidl and one from Dealz, Portlaoise, on dates between April and June this year, with goods totalling €100, €200 and €6 stolen on separate dates.

She was previously charged with two other counts of begging or obstructing passage.

Judge Catherine Staines noted that the accused had a total of eight charges against her for begging, and three for theft from shops. A lot of these offences were committed while she was out on bail.

Defence, Mr Barry Fitzgerald said there was “some acceptance of this type of behaviour in her country of origin”.

Retorted Judge Staines: “That may be, but there isn’t here.”

Mr Fitzgerald said that the probation services were willing to work with her, so they could impress on her the cultural attitudes of this country.

However, Judge Staines noted the offences committed and also that the accused had failed to turn up in court on a previous date.

On one charge of theft, the judge imposed six months in prison, suspended for one year.

She warned the accused that if she committed one further offence of begging, there was a suspended sentence hanging over her.