A judge at Fermanagh Magistrates Court has told a 26-year-old woman that “alcohol is the root of all your problems.”

District Judge Michael Ranahan was passing judgement on Enniskillen woman, Julia Stokes, who came before the court with a significant record. Judge Ranahan stated that although he was satisfied that the “custody bar had been reached” that he was not going to impose a custodial sentence as there “had been significant efforts to change your life” in recent times.

Stokes appeared before the court on one charge of criminal damage and one of theft, relating to two different incidents on different days.

The court heard how Stokes on May 15 2017 had caused criminal damage to a vehicle at the Diamond area of Enniskillen. Leaning on the car Stokes had broken the wing mirror before punching the windscreen. Stokes then had tried to open the door of the vehicle, but the doors had been locked by the driver who then drove off.

Upon reviewing CCTV footage police identified Stokes for the offence and subsequently arrested her. A compensation order was sought for a new wing mirror at a cost of £238.68.

On a separate occasion on January 6, 2018 the court heard how Stokes, and a second lady had entered Rooney’s Spar on the Cornagrade road in Enniskillen and proceeded to steal goods to a total of £11.17. Police attended the house of the accused who admitted involvement, along with the lady who accompanied her, who was also present.

Barrister Stefan Rafferty, speaking on behalf of his client drew the courts attention to the incident that occurred on May 5 2017. Mr Rafferty explained that this event had been a culmination of a day which had saw Stokes make several transgressions in another district, namely Omagh, which she had already been before the court for and had been “significantly punished for.”

“It is obvious that she had consumed a lot of alcohol. Had she not come to Enniskillen it is likely that all matters would have been dealt with together,” Mr Rafferty explained.

He went on to say that in relation to this incident that his client had always accepted her guilt but that there had been a question over the “appropriate charge” and that this had led to the case originally being due for contest, before the charge of criminal damage was arrived at.

On the incident of theft from Rooney’s Spar Mr Rafferty said that there was “an element of joint enterprise” between Stokes and “her accomplice” in the theft and that it was the other lady involved who had promised that she would pay back the money owed.

“She did not follow through on that and had left and went to Manchester and that as a result Ms Stokes was left as the fall guy to some extent,” Mr Rafferty stated.

The defendant’s Barrister made no effort to hide the extent of his client’s record and stated that “the consumption of alcohol was a major problem but that she was actively trying to deal with that problem.”

Mr Rafferty told the court that Stokes was in a much more stable position and had been alcohol free since April of this year. He said that she was attending with the drug and alcohol team in South West Acute Hospital. He went on to say that she is also receiving counselling on a regular basis and that she is “committed to abstaining from alcohol” and that she was a “changed lady.”

In passing sentence Judge Ranahan issued 40 hours of community service in relation to the charge of criminal damage also ordered compensation to be paid of £238.68. For the charge of theft, he issued 80 hours of community service and ordered the £11.17 to be paid back.