The cost of a pizza turned out to be rather pricey after a young Limerick mother, with 56 previous convictions, was fined €200 for leaving a popular city centre restaurant without paying and for failing to appear in court.
When arrested it came to light that Belinda O’Sullivan (21 ) of Bay 3 Clonlong, Southill, has a history of failing to appear in court, having clocked up 25 bench warrants and nine previous convictions, and will now have to appear in court next week to face up to the latest bench warrants. O’Sullivan was brought in custody before Galway District Court on Tuesday where she pleaded guilty to obtaining goods to the value of €21.80 at Fat Freddys, Quay Street, Galway, and making off without paying on July 30, 2012. A charge for obstructing a peace officer on July 31, 2012, was struck out by the State.
Inspector Ernie Whyte told the court that at 9.40pm on July 30 the defendant ate a meal and left the premises without paying for it. When arrested it was discovered that there were two bench warrants in existence. The court then heard that O’Sullivan has 56 previous convictions, including a number of sentences imposed for various theft charges as well as public order offences, forgery, burglary, and failing to appear in court.
Defence solicitor Adrian MacLynn explained that his client has had a very tragic background with her father serving a life sentence and her brother also incarcerated. He said that O’Sullivan, who is a mother of two children and is currently expecting a third, had suffered from a serious heroin addiction but has made efforts to deal with that and has been clean for the past 18 months.
O’Sullivan took the stand and under oath told Judge Conal Gibbons that most of the bench warrants were issued during a period when she was being treated in hospital following a car accident. She said that there was six months of treatment in hospital followed by a further six months of rehabilitation and physiotheraphy as she had “to learn to walk again”. O’Sullivan added that it was in 2011 she finally addressed her drug habit.
However, when further questioned O’Sullivan admitted that she had been in Galway for the races and that she had only ate one slice of pizza and walked out without paying on a “spur of the moment thing”.
Judge Gibbons convicted O’Sullivan and fined her a total of €200 with three months to pay in relation to the failing to make payment at Fat Freddys and failing to turn up to court. In relation to the live bench warrants, Mr MacLynn made an application for bail, however this was refused on the grounds that there was serous doubts O’Sullivan would turn up to court. Judge Gibbons remanded her in custody to be brought before Mallow District Court on August 14.