Thieving mother gets suspended sentence and Galway ban as judge slams using children in crime

A young mother who targeted the same retail shop three times in the space of just over a month has been ordered to keep her sticky fingers away from Galway city and county or risk serving a nine-month prison sentence.

Annie Joyce (20 ) with an address at 2 Saint Patrick Mews, Clarecastle, Co Clare, was arrested on foot of two bench warrants and brought in custody before Judge Mary Fahy at Monday’s sitting of Galway District Court where she pleaded guilty to three counts of theft from Lifestyle Sports at Galway Retail Park.

Garda Damien Gormally gave evidence that Joyce had targetted Lifestyle Sports on three occasions, stealing a jersey and tracksuit valued €85, on September 9, 2010, then taking two child’s tracksuits, valued €100, without paying on October 3, and helping herself to two sports tracksuits, valued at €200, on October 10. The items taken in the latter offence were not recovered.

Garda Gormally later informed the court that Joyce has accumulated seven previous convictions for theft including a four-month sentence suspended for 12 months which was imposed on June 2 2010.

Explaining her client’s failure to appear in court on previous dates, defence solicitor Sarah O’Dowd said that Joyce, who is the mother of two children and pregnant with her third child, had mixed up the dates. She said that Joyce had been caught on CCTV when carrying out the third theft and had been arrested. Ms O’Dowd added that Joyce had brought €200 into court for compensation.

“She comes up here shoplifting and she had her children with her?” asked Judge Fahy, to which Ms O’Dowd replied that Joyce had not taken her children with her but that she was in the company of another woman and that person had taken a child with her.

Judge Fahy then warned that anyone who uses children and buggies for shoplifting purposes risks having the health authorities informed. “This court takes a serious view of persistent shoplifting with children being used,” said Judge Fahy.

Ms O’Dowd further stressed that Joyce’s children were at home when the offences were committed and that she had been pregnant with her second child at the time.

“You can’t continue to come into Galway to shoplift, you could end up in jail and you could lose your children,” warned Judge Fahy before imposing a total of nine months in jail, suspended for two years on condition that she enter into a bond of €600 to be of good behaviour and stay away from Galway city and county. Adv

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