Wednesday 15 August 2018

Body-building mum who illegally imported €27K of steroids acted as 'foot soldier' for her mentor

Dublin District Court
Dublin District Court

Tom Tuite

A MOTHER-of-two acted as a “foot soldier” for her body-building mentor when she illegally imported €27,000 worth of anabolic steroids, a court has heard.

Lynne Fitzmaurice, 38, from Corbally Green, Westbrook Lawns, Tallaght, Dublin was spared a jail sentence after she pleaded guilty to five charges under the Irish Medicines Board Act for unlawfully importing steroids which required a doctor’s prescription.

She was fined €7,000 and ordered to pay €3,500 in prosecution expenses, by Judge John Brennan at Dublin District Court. He described it as “a substantial business” and he was also told the steroids carried serious health risks if wrongly used.

She was prosecuted following an investigation by the Health Product Regulatory Authority (HPRA), the State’s medicines watchdog agency.

HPRA enforcement officer Brenda Kirby told the court that on Feb. 23 last year customs officers detained a large package sent from Romania and addressed to Lynne Fitzmaurice’s Tallaght home.

The package which was passed on to the HPRA was found to contain 452 boxes with 4,000 vials. They were anabolic steroids worth €27,000, Ms Kirby said.

A  warrant was obtained to search her home where some unauthorised medicinal products were found.

Ms Kirby said that Fitzmaurice claimed they were for personal use; she was interviewed and made “certain admissions”. She was again interviewed on a later date with a solicitor present and made admissions about importing the steroids.

Ms Kirby said they were prescription only products. In relation to their possible health risks, prosecution solicitor Ronan O’Neill told the court they can lead to heart disease or strokes if misused.

Defence counsel Stephen Montgomery told the court his client was previously employed in retail and telesales but is now working full time in the home.

The barrister said the married mother-of-two had been involved in body-building and was “more of a foot soldier in this matter”. There was a “controlling mind” who was a mentor to her and had previously trained her in body-building, counsel said.

However, she no longer has contact with the trainer, who was not named during the proceedings.

Pleading for leniency, counsel told the court Fitzmaurice did not live an extravagant lifestyle and she was taking full responsibility for her actions. She suffered a degree of anxiety and depression as a result of this matter, the barrister said, adding that she had no previous convictions and has not come to attention of the authorities since.

She had also agreed to pay the HPRA’s €3,500 in expenses from getting the products tested. Mr Montgomery asked the court spare her a criminal conviction which could prevent her from visiting a family member who plans to move to New York.

The offence can result in a fine of €4,000 per charge and a jail term of up to 12 months.

Judge Brennan held that it was appropriate to record a conviction in light of the serious nature of the case and value of the steroids, adding, “It was not just a minor matter, there was a substantial business going on.”

He noted her guilty plea and said the fact she was a “foot soldier” went towards mitigation.

Sparing her a prison sentence, he imposed fines totalling €7,000 which have to be paid within eight months. He ordered that the case would be listed again in December for confirmation she has paid the HPRA’s expenses.

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