herald

Friday 2 December 2016

Shoplifting case against former heroin addict and author is dismissed

Former addict Rachael Keogh
Former addict Rachael Keogh

A former drug addict whose needle-scarred arms shocked the nation has had a shoplifting charge against her dismissed.

Rachael Keogh made the news in 2006 when images of her arms, ravaged by years of injecting heroin, were published.

She went on to become a best-selling author, with the release of a harrowing memoir detailing her battle with heroin addiction and subsequent recovery.

Stealing

Ms Keogh (35) appeared in Blanchardstown District Court on a theft charge after she was accused of stealing a children's GAA helmet and a pair of boots from a supermarket.

Ms Keogh, of Riverside Apartments, Watery Lane, Dublin 22, denied the offence, alleged to have happened at Aldi, Newlands Cross on April 9 last.

The charge was dismissed by Judge David McHugh on a legal point before any evidence was heard.

The prosecuting garda had applied to amend the title of the owner of the property on the charge sheet at the outset of the hearing. The judge refused to make the amendment following defence objections.

When the case was first called, Ms Keogh's solicitor, Fiona Brennan, said the accused was pleading not guilty and Garda Brendan Crawford said he was ready to proceed.

However, when it was called again for hearing, the garda said he wished to have the charge sheet amended to state the GAA gear, worth just under €50, was the "property of Aldi Stores, Ireland Ltd" rather than "property of Aldi, Newlands Cross".

Ms Brennan said this application was being made at the very last moment. Garda Crawford said he did not believe the defence case would be prejudiced by the amendment.

"It is more a question of procedure," the judge said.

"The application is being made essentially when it's been fixed in stone. From a purely legal point of view you are on a very sticky wicket."

The judge allowed the garda to consult a State solicitor.

When the case was called again, Garda Sergeant Mary Doherty said the prosecution was contending that it was at the judge's discretion to make the amendment and it could be done up to the end of the case.

Discretion

Ms Brennan said she was still objecting. Garda Crawford said the amendment now being sought was to read "property of (a named woman), Aldi Stores, Ireland Ltd, Newlands Cross".

Ms Brennan said this was a different application again and it was being done in a "piecemeal fashion".

The judge said he would not exercise his discretion in the circumstances and dismissed the case.

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