herald

Thursday 17 October 2019

Victim of mugging stole phone right in front of Gardai

Samantha Fitzgerald ‘knows she was wrong and is remorseful’
Samantha Fitzgerald ‘knows she was wrong and is remorseful’

A mugging victim who felt gardai were not taking her seriously went out and snatched an innocent woman's mobile phone later that day.

Samantha Fitzgerald (28), whose own phone had been stolen, grabbed the mobile from the victim's hand on O'Connell Bridge in a "rash, spur-of-the-moment" act, a court was told.

She was seen by undercover gardai, who chased after her and arrested her.

Fitzgerald, of Hazel Grove, Portrane Road, Donabate, pleaded guilty to stealing the phone on July 8.

Dublin District Court heard gardai were on patrol the bridge at 6pm on the day in question.

The plain-clothes officers saw Fitzgerald snatch a mobile phone from the victim's hand and ran after her, catching her after a short chase.

Distressing

The phone was recovered undamaged and Fitzgerald was apologetic when arrested, a garda sergeant said.

The accused had two previous convictions, including one for theft.

Fitzgerald accepted it was an "unpleasant and distressing thing to have a phone snatched from your hand", her lawyer told the court.

However, he added that in this case it was recovered.

"That was fortunate, but it was still a phone snatch," Judge Bryan Smyth said.

While there was "no excuse" for her actions, Fitzgerald had her own phone taken in a mugging earlier that day.

She made a complaint to gardai, but she felt it was not being taken seriously.

The decision to steal the woman's phone was "a rash, spur-of-the-moment thing that she entirely regrets", her lawyer told the court.

"She knows she was in the wrong and she is very remorseful and apologetic," he added.

Judge Smyth said it was a case where the victim would need to be asked if she wished to make an impact statement.

He said the case would have to be adjourned until this could be done.

The judge remanded the accused on continuing bail, for Fitzgerald to appear in court again next month.

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