Soldier avoids a criminal record for pharmacy thefts costing €4k
A SOLDIER who admitted stealing more than €4,000 in cash while she was working at a Dublin pharmacy has been left without a criminal record after paying full compensation.
Michelle Coyle (24) carried out 29 thefts of varying cash sums over a two-month period while she was working part-time at a Boots outlet before she enlisted with the defence forces.
Rather than impose career-threatening convictions, Judge David McHugh struck all charges against her out at Blanchardstown District Court, saying it was better that she continued to serve her country.
The court heard the full €4,256 had been repaid to the pharmacy and Coyle had taken part in a restorative justice programme.
The accused, with an address at Maynooth Park, Maynooth, Co Kildare, had pleaded guilty to theft from Boots pharmacy at Liffey Valley Shopping Centre on dates between June 6 and August 17, 2013.
The offences happened on dates between June 6 and August 17, 2013. The individual amounts ranged from €18 to €420.
Private Coyle (24), who recently completed her defence forces training, had appeared in court several times on the charges and entered a guilty plea earlier this year.
The case was back before Judge McHugh for finalisation.
"My overall view is restorative justice is appropriate," the judge said.
"She is better to be serving her country, in a very satisfactory manner, I have been told, than any other sanction."
Judge McHugh noted that the defendant had expressed remorse for her actions and he was satisfied "this is the way to go".
He said Coyle would now be able to continue in the defence forces. His decision to strike out the charges means Coyle has been left with no criminal convictions.
Previously, her solicitor told the court Coyle was 'fully aware of her actions and accepts liability'.
He explained that she was suffering with bipolar disorder and was currently saving for medication and ongoing treatment.
Coyle enlisted with the Army in 2013 and had no previous convictions.
She had been working in Boots on a part-time basis before she joined the Army, the court was told.
The accused did not address the court during the brief hearing.
The DPP had consented to the case being dealt with at District Court level.
Judge McHugh had accepted jurisdiction to deal with it, rather than sending the accused to the Circuit Court.