A PREGNANT woman who claimed she found a skeleton key for opening cars but didn’t know what it was has been found guilty of going equipped for theft.
Bridget Lynch (25) of Camphill Park, Newtownbutler appeared at Enniskillen Magistrates Court last Wednesday where she pleaded guilty to drink driving, driving while disqualified, and using a vehicle in a dangerous driving, however she contested the charge of going equipped for theft.
Lynch was detected on June 13 last year after police were called to an alleged disturbance at Drumawill Gardens in Enniskillen. Officer realised Lynch was in breach of a driving ban, and arrested her on the driving offences.
When taken to Enniskillen Police Station Lynch, who is now seven months pregnant with her first child, was searched. During this search she handed an object over to the officers which she had been keeping in her bra, telling them she had found it in a bar in Cavan and didn’t know what it was. The court was told the device was a type of skeleton key, used in the motor industry to open and cut keys for Ford vehicles and which can be used in thefts from vehicles.
Lynch, who returned an evidential breath reading of 45 micrograms per 100ml, admitted her driving offences to the police, however when asked about the device she said she “hadn’t a clue” what it was.” In her later interview, Lynch again told the officers she didn’t know what it was, and if she had she would’ve thrown it away.
The defendant, who had a previous criminal record, explained she’d been with members of the Travelling Community who had rented a bar in Cavan following her partner’s brother’s anniversary Mass, and she had found the device and put it in her car.
Lynch, who the court was told played the role of peacemaker in her community, said she picked it up because she said it looked valuable, and said she did not ask her boyfriend about it as he was talking to other men and it would’ve been “insulting” to interrupt him.
Insisting in her evidence that she did not know what the device was, Lynch said she then put in her bra and forgot about it until she was later arrested in Enniskillen. Lynch said she did not carry a bag and put “everything” in her bra, including money and her mobile phone, and said this was common practice by women in the Travelling community.
District Judge Nigel Broderick said that an spoken admission that a person intended on using an item for theft was not needed to prove a charge of going equipped for that offence. Instead, it was a matter for the court to determine if the intent was there. Stating he was not convinced by Lynch’s evidence, he convicted her of the offence.
Judge Broderick sentenced Lynch, who is the carer for her partner’s children aged 10, 13 and 16 while he is in prison, to a total of four months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and disqualified her from driving for one year. He also fined her a total of £200 and reactivated a previous suspended sentence.
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