A Dublin woman who pretended to be in a distressed state in order to deceive people into giving her their mobile phones which she then stole, was last week given two six-month sentences.
Before last week’s sitting of Portlaoise District Court was Charlene Philips, formerly of Portlaoise but now with an address at La Touche Road, Bluebell, Dublin 12.
The court heard that she deceived two different people into giving her their phones, which she then stole.
Inspector Declan Dunne gave evidence that on October 27 this year, Philips approached a person and appeared to be in a distressed state. She asked to used the person’s phone and when they handed it to her she ran away. The phone, worth €35, was not recovered.
Philips committed a similar offence on a separate date at the Laois Shopping Centre. She approached a person in a distressed state and asked to use their phone, subsequently running away with the phone which was worth €500.
Philips also stole groceries worth €6.60, from the Campus Shop, Mountmellick Road, Portlaoise, on July 4 this year.
There was also a charge of failing to appear in the Courts of Criminal Justice (CCJ).
Philips had eight previous convictions, including thefts and damaging property. For one of the theft convictions she was given a six-month sentence in August 2013, suspended for two years. Her latest offences therefore put her in breach of this suspended sentence.
Defence, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick admitted Philips is a young lady who is “no stranger to the court”.
Ms Fitzpatrick said Philips had been addicted to heroin and got herself clean for about seven to eight months, but she relapsed over the last two or three months. She is now living in Dublin and hopes to secure residential treatment; she is also on a probation bond, but has not been in a position to engage with the probation services, said Ms Fitzpatrick.
Defence concluded by saying that Philips feared for her safety if she was sentenced to prison in Dublin.
Judge Catherine Staines remarked that the court had given Philips every opportunity. She had been given probation, community service and a suspended sentence, and still went on to engage in serious offences. In those circumstances, the judge said she was going to impose a prison sentence.
Judge Staines imposed two six-month sentences, to run concurrently. Recognisance was fixed in the event of an appeal. Philips was due in Limerick court last Friday, October 24, and then the CCJ today, Tuesday, October 28.