A BENCH warrant has been issued for a Fermanagh woman who failed to turn up for a court case in which she had pleaded not guilty to trying to steal fake tan.
Nicola Leonard (26) of Rosnarick Close, Derrygonnelly did not appear at Enniskillen Magistrates Court on Monday to face the charge of attempted theft of He-Shi fake tan, worth £38, from Caroline Johnston on January 27 last year. The defendant had indicated at a previous court hearing last month that she would be contesting the charge.
Leonard is also one of three people recently sent forward to the Crown Court on charges relating to an alleged stabbing at Trasna Way, Lisnaskea on October 8, 2016.
In her evidence, Caroline Johnston told Monday’s hearing that Leonard entered her Top to Toe beauty clinic on Townhall Street in Enniskillen on the date in question to discuss an issue with a tattoo she had done there the day before.
“I had to leave her for a moment and heard a rattle of plastic bags. When I returned I noticed a space on the shelf where the fake tan products are displayed. Nicola had an extra bag with her and I could see the fake tan product through the bag. She made no attempt to pay for this until I told her that the police were on their way.
“I locked the door until they came and Nicola started shouting and screaming. I told her that she had tried to steal the tan but she said I had no proof as there are no cameras.”
In the absence of his client, defence barrister Alan Blackburn put to Ms Johnston Leonard’s account of events. It was claimed that Ms Johnston had given the tan to his client in order to settle the row over “minor flaws with a tattoo” the previous day.
Ms Johnston denied this: “When I rang the police, Nicola started to panic and she made an offer to pay for the tan before officers arrived.”
Mr Blackburn told District Judge Nigel Broderick that since his client had failed to attend court, he could not offer any evidence.
The judge said that while Leonard was entitled to the benefit of the doubt, he was concerned by her absence and previous record. He added that he regarded Ms Johnston as a “credible and reliable witness” and convicted Leonard. After hearing that she was not reporting to police as part of her bail conditions, the judge issued a bench warrant for her arrest.
Posted: 9:15 am November 22, 2017