Saturday, 22 July 2017

Illegal Trading at Poppy Cottage

Following a recent case of illegal selling of lemonade in East London by a 5 year old girl which lead to a £150 fine (that was later overturned), a further related incident was reported in South Co Kildare, Ireland.

At a special sitting of Kildare District Court, on Thursday July 20th 2017, a 43 year old woman (although 'fresh looking for her years', all of the male Gardai present agreed), Lucina Russell, appeared on charges that she had facilitated the illegal sale of fruit smoothies at her home in Poppy Cottage, Co Kildare, on Wed 19th between the hours of 4pm and 7pm.

Also in court were her two children, a boy and a girl, both aged 9 years of age, who cannot be named for legal reasons.  Both children looked disheveled and appeared not to have had a decent wash since school term ended.  Ms Russell was dressed in black, with traces of pancake mixture and Nutella in her hair.

When questioned by Judge HeeBee GeeBee, Ms Russell denied resisting arrest, stating that she ‘just wanted to put on me lippy and change my t-shirt’.   Arresting Garda Seamus Mc Sean presented the t-shirt as evidence in court.  Ms Russell was quick to point out that the red splatters on the garment were ‘only strawberries’ and denied there could be any blood present, other than that of her own, from the over-enthusiastic chopping off ‘the green bits’.   She admitted to not wearing a hair net while preparing the smoothies, but insisted that her hair 'was clean as disinfectant' and ‘so full of peroxide and head lice shampoo that you would eat your dinner out of it.’

Also presented in court were photographs of the illegal selling operation.  Ms Russell admitted to taking and posting on Facebook to ‘drum up business on a quiet road’.  Other evidence included a fistful of receipts for plastic cups, straws, frozen fruit, yoghurt and fruit juice.  Judge HeeBee GeeBee put it to Ms Russell that she ‘was the adult’ and could easily have refused to purchase the items for her children.  An emotional Ms Russell said, ‘Your Honour, you don’t know what it’s like - being eye balled by twins for days.  The Death Stare and silent treatment was killing me’.   In response to the Judge’s question ‘are they identical twins?, Ms Russell  replied that ‘they can’t be because he has a willy and she doesn’t’.  The Judge then witnessed the Death Stare first hand when the children looked at him and his ‘stupid question’ and he openly admitted feeling ‘The Fear.’

Reviewing the receipts presented in court and the homemade sign made by the 9 year old girl, the Judge chastised Ms Russell, stating that she had ‘spent a fortune’ on ingredients and that the 50cent and 1euro prices charged would ‘never recoup costs’.  She confirmed that she was not registered for VAT and did not have a Traders Permit.  He suggested that passers-by could have felt harassed and intimidated by the aggressive manner in which the children waved the sign around to encourage sales.  He accused her of ‘reckless trading’, stating that the activity would not stand to her children in the ‘real world of commerce.’  Ms Russell tried to justify her behaviour, saying that she wanted her children to have a ‘better childhood than she had.’  Attendees in court were moved by her harrowing account of a farming childhood of standing in gaps, de-maggoting sheep and picking stones.

There were emotional scenes when the Judge said that he had no option but to sentence the children each to one month without WiFi access.  Ms Russell received a one month jail sentence, with no option of bail.  Being led away from court, Ms Russell thanked the judge for his leniency and said that 'after a month of the children on holidays and two foreign students staying', that the sentence sounded like ‘heaven.'  She shouted to her children that there were ‘some left over strawberries in the fridge.’


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