"This was a very nasty and despicable crime. It was activity of the vilest nature.
We had, in the past, in this country a society where we recognised the tremendous contribution in education, health and charity on the part of the Sisters of Mercy."
"We now have a society where people show disrespect and scant regard, and this type of behaviour by this defendant I regard as absolutely vile and appalling behaviour."
Judge Durcan said that Purcell took full advantage of Sr O'Grady's charity and "that is nothing short of appalling". [link]
I do not know the average sentence for petty theft but these comments give weight to the argument waging on Politics.ie that a heavier sentience was imposed for stealing from a religious order because of the judges own strong catholic views; that at the very least the ruling was self-indulgent.
Its perhaps relevant that the judge is Knight of a Catholic organization called The Order of the Holy Sepulchre, an organization created to :
To strengthen in its members the practice of Christian life, in absolute fidelity to the Supreme Pontiff and according to the teachings of the Church, observing as its foundation the principle of charity of which the Order is a fundamental means for assistance to the Holy Land.
I wonder if this lady was tried by a member of the Irish judiciary or a Vatican city-state judge who just happens to work in Ireland?