A midwife at the Coombe Hospital in Dublin stole a prescription so that she could obtain pharmaceutical drugs for a relative who was otherwise getting them from street dealers, a court has heard.
Bronagh Aiken worked on a ward at the Coombe Hospital and was a registered as a midwife, Judge Martin Nolan of the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was told on Wednesday.
She pleaded guilty to one count of possessing a forged prescription, contrary to Section 18 (3) of the Misuse of Drugs Act on October 1st, 2018.
Garda Conor Rynn told the court that staff at Pure Pharmacy at Redmond's Hill, Dublin 2 became suspicious of a prescription submitted for filling and contacted Coombe Hospital where the issuing doctor worked.
The chemist was told that the doctor did not make out the prescription presented and, when CCTV at the pharmacy was examined, Aiken was identified as having presented it for filling.
She was interviewed and admitted taking a prescription slip from the hospital and filling it out herself. She told gardaí she wanted to get drugs for a relative, who was an addict and was obtaining illegal drugs from dealers.
Suspended by hospital
She was suspended by the hospital and remains so. Garda Rynn said Aiken has two previous convictions but only for road traffic offences dating back to 2017.
Defence counsel, Carol Doherty BL, told the court that as a result of the defendant's actions “her career will cease as she knows it to be”.
She had been under "enormous strain" and her family was also stressed. This was "a very, very serious offence and she should have known better," said counsel.
She agreed with Judge Nolan that people in positions of authority had to behave with integrity. Ms Doherty said Aiken, who was supported in court by her family, has alcohol problems and a broken life.
Judge Nolan said the headline sentence for the offence was three years imprisonment but there was "strong mitigation", he added. Taking into consideration her mitigation he reduced this to a one-year term, which he suspended in full on condition that she be of good behaviour.
"She is an accomplished lady and I would expect this behaviour would not be repeated," said the judge.