by Andrew Carey
TWO LIMERICK sisters who tried to exchange over £13,000 in Irish punts were prosecuted for handling stolen goods when it was established that the money had been stolen in a burglary.
Josephine Corbett (47) of McDonagh Avenue was given IR£12,449 in a brown paper bag and told by a man to take it to the Central Bank in Dublin and exchange it for euro notes.
Limerick district court was told that the man who gave her the money was “a very persuasive person”.
When she went to the Central Bank, she was asked a number of questions and told that a cheque would issue when all the notes were checked and verified. She telephoned the man who had given her the money and was told to take it back but out of a sense of fear, she did not “advance the situation any further”.
Judge Eugene O’Kelly was told that her sister Aileen Doran (49) of Clarina Avenue, Ballinacurra Weston had found a lollipop jar containing old Irish punts outside a boarded-up house that had been broken into by local youngsters.
She took the punts to a local bank where she exchanged them for euro notes that she used to “pay bills”. Defence solicitor John Herbert said there was no chance of Ms Doran being able to return the money as she was not of “good circumstances due to ill health”.
Evidence of Ms Corbett’s visit to the Central Bank was captured on closed circuit television and enquiries were made if any other exchanges of Irish punts had been made at local banks. This resulted in Ms Doran being arrested for handling stolen goods.
Stating it was an extraordinary coincidence that both women were before the court on similar charges, Judge O’Kelly said that they must have been suspicious of the dubious origin of the money.
Both women were sentenced to five months in prison but the sentences were suspended for a period of two years.