Judge gives Longford addict six months to prove herself

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Longford Courthouse.

A Longford woman has vowed to enter a drugs rehabilitation course after pleading guilty to forging a prescription last September.

A Longford woman who forged a GP’s prescription has been told she will be afforded compassion by the courts provided she completes a six month addiction course in Dublin.

Rachel Maguire, 11 Campbells Lane, Longford pleaded guilty to an incident at Ward’s Pharmacy, Ballymahon Street, Longford on September 7 2017.

Garda John Hanley said gardaí were first alerted after Dr Syed Ali of Longford Medical Centre contacted the Garda Station to reveal a patient of his and co-accused of Ms Maguire’s had called to his surgery seeking a prescription.

A specification for sleeping tablets was subsequently issued to the individual with the prosecution claiming the document was then altered in a car outside where Ms Maguire was waiting.

When the prescription was presented to a member of staff in Ward’s Pharmacy, the alarm was raised when a phone call was made to Dr Ali.

Garda Hanley said he later made contact with both Ms Maguire and her co-accused where a voluntary statement was given by both.

The court was told that while the prescription itself wasn’t doctored, an attempt was made to add a second item to the document.

This was soon identified as being Xanax, a prescribed medication for the treatment of anxiety.

“He (co-accused) got Rachel to do the writing and that’s the problem,” said defence solicitor Frank Gearty.

He said even though Ms Maguire was conscious of her own involvement in the episode, there was one element of the case he was keen to address.

“The only bone to pick is she says she did sit in the car and didn’t go into the shop,” said Mr Gearty.
Garda Hanley was quick to respond, confirming that was indeed the case.

Mr Gearty added there was a significant factor at play which had caused Ms Maguire to act in the way she did.

“There is a very sad and devastating problem in the background and that is heroin,” he candidly put it.

He asked Judge Hughes to afford his client the chance to get her life back on track by enrolling on an addiction treatment course in Dublin.

“She is asking to give her a chance and to see her in six months as she is about to go into Cherry Orchard,” he said.

Mr Gearty added there was a degree of merit in that request as Ms Maguire was now down to 50mg of methadone from a previous high of 100mg.

She also previously worked as a carer, he added and was eyeing up the possibility of going overseas upon completion of the course.

As he listened to those submissions, Judge Hughes questioned the whereabouts of Ms Maguire’s co-accused.

Garda Hanley, somewhat ironically, revealed he had in fact come across the individual while on duty that same morning.

“I spoke to him at a checkpoint and informed him he was due in court,” said Garda Hanley.

“He told me that he wasn’t in court today and was due in court on July 22.”

Turning his attentions back to Ms Maguire, Judge Hughes said there was no denying the gravity of the offence Ms Maguire was faced with.

“Forging a prescription is the most serious thing you can do,” he said.

“Doctors hand out prescriptions in good faith and you forged it to feed your greedy habit.”

That said, Judge Hughes said he was impressed Ms Maguire was keen to address her own addiction issues and vowed to express tolerance to her if she returns before him in six months a different person.

“If you do do this course, the court will bend over backwards to help you,” he told her.

The case was adjourned until January 15 2019.