A mother of 10, who is wanted in four counties, and with half a dozen bench warrants outanding against her name, had a previously applied 11-month jail sentence adjourned for just seven days in the District Court this week (March 3 ) to allow her one final attempt at instructing her solicitor.
“That’s the total of paperwork you have ignored since last year,” said Judge Neilan waving a two inch thick sheaf of charge sheets at Elizabeth Joyce (32 ) of Farnagh, Moate but with addresses also at Moy Court, Ballymahon and Thornbury Drive, Willow Park, Athlone.
Joyce was in court to face up to 20 charges of theft, burglary and handling stolen goods across the Midlands, committed between January and August last year, as well as the outstanding bench warrants for her non-appearances in court.
“My whole bench is covered in bench warrants for this lady,” said Judge Neilan to her solicitor, Ms Niamh McLynn.
“There are so many matters before the court today, I’m simply not aware of the details of them all.”
The court heard how there were warrants outstanding for Joyce in Roscommon, Ballymahon and Mullingar, while she was already charged with offences in Athlone and Cavan.
“The court can’t keep rescheduling for this lady if she won’t turn up to your office and give instructions,” said the judge to Ms McLynn.
Ms McLynn apologised to the court on her client’s behalf but couldn’t offer any reason for Joyce’s absences.
“Mrs Joyce has got the benefit of criminal legal aid and six, eight, 10 months later she still hasn’t engaged as required by the system,” said the judge.
“I know how many children Mrs Joyce has but she’s using them as excuses. I see a date here when you were handling stolen goods. Where were your children then?” Joyce didn’t answer.
The judge allowed Superintendent Aidan Glacken to read the facts from a number of Joyce’s sheets to begin to tidy up the backlog, and the court heard of a number of road traffic offences and opportunistic thefts between January and July.
Judge Neilan reminded Joyce of a theft from Dunnes Stores in Cavan last June 24 to which she had already pleaded guilty and for which she had been sentenced to 11 months in prison.
He told Ms McLynn that this sentence would be activated next week (March 10 ) “if this lady doesn’t turn up to hear these”.
The judge then listed a number of cases he wanted Joyce to face at the next sitting and these included alleged thefts from Wilfs gents outfitters in Mullingar, from Dunnes Stores, Irishtown, Athlone and an equestrian centre in Ballymahon.
“My motivation is not driven by the cost to the taxpayer here...but the reality is she is constantly neglecting to instruct her solicitor,” said the judge.