Judge asks mother of six what age she had first child

A 31-year-old mother of six on a theft charge before Tralee District Court was asked to confirm what age she was when she had her first child.

Lisa Sherlock, of Chapel St, Tralee, Co Kerry, was before Judge James O’Connor in Tralee District Court, where she pleaded guilty to a theft charge involving two children’s jackets at Dunnes Stores, Horan Centre, Tralee, with a total value of €70 on December 5, 2015. She pleaded to this and to a second charge of deception to do with switching tags at Penneys, Tralee, on February 2, 2016, so that a €10 tag was replaced by a €6 tag, and an €8 tag replaced by a €4 tag.

Pleading for mitigation, her solicitor Patrick Mann said she was 31 and a mother of six children.

“Six children at 31 years of age!” Judge James O’Connor exclaimed.

“You had the first child at 16 or 17?” he asked Sherlock, to which Sherlock, who was standing alongside her solicitor, replied “yes”.

She was convicted on both charges and fined €400.

During the lengthy court sitting in Tralee yesterday, the judge on three separate occasions in relation to three cases ordered the press not to print remarks and exchanges which might be described as banter to do with women.

Two of the three remarks the judge ordered not to be printed involved pregnant women, in one case a garda due her baby in a few days; in that case the judge was involved in banter with a solicitor who was representing an elderly man who is to contest a case of harassment against a former ladyfriend, described as his paramour.

The court was told the matter was being contested. However, the female garda investigating the matter, and needed to give evidence, was due her baby in a few days so a lengthy adjournment was necessary the State said. It was brief exchanges around this matter which the judge ordered not to be printed.

“That last comment is not to be printed,” Judge O’Connor ordered, shaking his head in apparent exasperation at the press continuing to write after his order, and remarking “my God!”.

The second remark the judge asked not to be printed involved a Limerick woman in an advanced stage of pregnancy who was wearing a maternity brace and had a crutch and was waiting on the court’s benches for almost two hours to have her case called.

The woman pleaded to being found drunk lying on a street in Tralee in August 2016.

The prosecuting garda was giving the outline on the evidence and made a slip of the tongue to which the judge made a remark, then said to the press: “That’s not to be printed either!”

The third case involved a man not wearing a top in a car driven by a woman and the judge asked a question of the garda to do with the top.

“We won’t print that either!”Judge O’Connor said and as the confused press kept writing he shouted a second time: “We won’t print that either!”


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