18 Aug 2022

Laois woman who crashed party, assaulted people and stole bottles given suspended jail


Laois woman who crashed party, assaulted people and stole bottles given suspended jail

A Portarlington woman who crashed an 18th birthday party in a local pub and committed three assaults after being asked to leave before she stole bottles of alcohol from behind the bar has been given a suspended prison sentence.

At last week’s sitting of Portlaoise District Court, Niamh O’Neill, 29, of 48 Kilnacourt Woods, Portarlington, was charged with criminal damage, at French Church Street, Portarlington; and three counts of assault, one count of theft, and one charge under the firearms act, at the Barrow Lodge, Portarlington, all on June 23, 2018.

When the case last came before the court in April, Sgt JJ Kirby gave evidence that on June 23, 2018, the accused caused criminal damage to a car by scraping it with an implement.

Sgt Kirby said that extensive damage was done to the vehicle with over €2,000 of damage caused.

She committed three assaults at the Barrow Lodge, slapping a woman to the face and a male employee of the bar, and when she was being removed from the premises she slapped another man to the face.

During the incident she produced to a member of staff a set of keys which contained a flicknife. She also entered the bar area and stole a number of bottles.

Sgt Kirby told the court it had been the accused’s birthday that day and there had been an 18th birthday going on in the pub at the time, which she was not invited to. She was asked to leave and the incident went from there, said Sgt Kirby.

Defence, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick said there had been an abuse of alcohol on the day and the accused had also been taking tablets.

She had written letters of apology and had €300 compensation for the theft charge.

Judge Catherine Staines said this was a serious matter, but ruled that she wanted to see a probation report on the accused before finalising the matter.

The case was then adjourned to July 18.

When the case returned to court last week, Ms Fitzpatrick said the accused has since been attempting to rehabilitate herself and had a further €1,000 compensation. She had also written letters of apology.

In sentencing, Judge Staines said the offending merited a prison sentence, but she took into account the fact that the accused had no previous convictions and had cooperated with the probation services.

However, the judge noted that a victim impact statement provided by the owner of the pub indicated the incident had a huge impact on his business, as staff had to leave.

On the theft charge, Judge Staines imposed a ten-month sentence, suspended for two years on condition the accused abstain from alcohol.

Directing the compensation to go to the injured parties, Judge Staines also directed a further €500 compensation go to the injured parties from the court poor box.

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