A case of casual trading without a permit was dismissed and charges dropped against two non-national women after arresting gardai could not produce balls of wool and knitting needles in court as evidence.
When hearing the case at Galway District Court this week Judge Aeneus McCarthy also said that he had some doubt after the two women claimed that they had not been selling balls of wool but had in fact been “just braiding” hair which, according to their solicitor, was not a sufficient breach of the Casual Trading Act.
Ica ( 25 ) and Stancuta Rostas (22 ) with an address at 36 Lurgan Park, Renmore were charged with engaging in casual trading with no licence on Shop Street on June 14, 2008. In the absence of the defendant, Garda James O’Brien gave evidence that at 12.30pm he observed Ica Rostas selling wool and beads and that she admitted to selling the wool and that she did not have a permit. She then refused to leave.
Defence solicitor Valerie Corcoran said that her client had been “binding the wool in hair” and that this was not a sufficient breach of the Casual Trading Act. Inspector Pat McHugh interjected by informing the court that “the items were sold to put in hair” but the defendant was also selling the wool itself.
Judge Aeneus McCarthy then said that he had a doubt about the matter “if they had been using the wool to decorate hair” and that he was not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt.
In the case of Stancuta, Garda Costello told the court that he observed up to three members of the public buying wool from her and there was a blanket on the ground with balls of wool and various beads. He said that she admitted after caution she didn’t have a permit. She then refused to leave the area and had a “poor attitude”. When questioned regarding the type of exchange that occurred, he said that a “person purchased a ball and walked off”.
When Inspector McHugh questioned Stancuta about the presence of balls of wool and knitting needles on the blanket in front of her, she replied that she was “just braiding”.
Judge Aeneus McCarthy dismissed the case as gardai could not produce the balls of wool or knitting needles.