A 26-year-old woman with 220 convictions appeared before Naas District Court last Wednesday, July 26, prompting Judge Desmond Zaidan to say it was one of the worst he had ever seen.
Maggie Connors, whose address is listed as 15 Rossfield Gardens, Tallaght, faced a charge of stealing a DVD player from Power City, Newhall, on November 25 last. It was worth only €26.95 and was, she told Gardai at the time, a Christmas present for her son.
Garda Christina Brady told the court that the defendant was identified from CCTV and when Gardai approached her, the DVD player was in the back of her car. She admitted the offence and the item was recovered.
Counsel for the defendant Mary Quinn said that her client queried a number of the 220 convictions listed on her record, saying that there were other women called Maggie Connors out there. However, Garda Brady noted that the details, including her date of birth, were all the same.
Counsel said there was agreement on 190 of the convictions, which related to Road Traffic Offences, and dated back to April 16, 2003. She is currently disqualified from driving for the next 40 years.
Judge Zaidan made the point that it was somewhat meaningless to argue whether she had 190 as opposed to 220 previous convictions.
Counsel explained that her client had been married at the age of 16, which shocked the judge, who said it was illegal for a woman to marry at that age.
“Well, in certain sections of society it is permitted,” she replied. It was revealed that an application was made to the Circuit Court for it to be allowed.
“She was under the influence of that man for some time, and the relationship was abusive and violent, but they have now separated,” Ms. Quinn explained.
“She has two kids whom she cares for dearly. She has lived in a refuge centre.”
She added that her client has had, and has dealt with alcohol issues.
“It’s appalling. I just don’t get it,” the judge said, before sentencing her to nine months imprisonment.
He refused to suspend some of it, and suggested that she get counselling while in prison.
He was asked to set recognances in the event of an appeal. He said bail at a personal bond of €400 with a cash lodgement of €150 and an independent surety of €1,000 with a cash lodgement of €650.
“I’ll have to disagree with you on this,” counsel told the Judge. “This is a woman of very little means. There’s just no reality to that level of bond,” but Judge Zaidan refused to budge.
“I’ve taken on board what you said. It’s one of the most appalling criminal records I’ve ever encountered,” Judge Zaidan said.