A WOMAN who got a letter from hospital to excuse her from a sentencing hearing was back stealing from a shop on the same day she was meant to appear in Limerick District Court.
“Is she laughing at the court?” Judge Eugene O’Kelly asked in respect of 29-year-old Dawn Casey, of Curragh Birin, Castletroy, who pleaded guilty to the theft of over €680 worth of perfume from Debenhams on October 10.
What was “particularly aggravating”, said the judge, was that Casey had offered a letter from the Regional Maternity Hospital as an “excuse” for her not attending court last Wednesday to face sentencing for a number of theft charges.
On the same day, Casey had stolen eight bottles of perfume from the department store.
An “over-burdened health service” had been prevailed upon “to write a letter excusing her attendance at court while she was down the town stealing €680-odd’s worth of property”.
Solicitor John Herbert accepted that the circumstances as outlined by the judge were “infuriating”.
Casey, he said, was somebody who was still dealing with “a very difficult past, having been in care from a young age”. Only of late had she begun making efforts to deal with her difficulties but she remained “vulnerable”, Mr Herbert said. Her own two children were doing very well and she looked forward to spending more time with them.
Judge O’Kelly said she would have to spend time without them as it was his sentence to impose a custodial sentence.
While he gave credit for her early guilty plea, the judge observed the offence had occurred on “a day on which she was due to be sentenced for a whole range of similar theft offences”.
She was sentenced to nine months in prison for the Debenham’s theft offence. For theft at Sally’s Hair and Beauty on July 9, 2011 - an offence in relation to which Casey had paid compensation - she was sentenced to two months in prison, suspended for six months.
Additional suspended sentences of four months and six months respectively were imposed for further thefts at Superdrug, William Street, on July 9, 2011 and at Penneys on May 13 last.