Former children's charity chief faces €18k theft charge
THE former boss of a charity that organised trips for terminally-ill children, including visits to see Santa in Lapland, has been accused of stealing thousands of euro from his own organisation.
John Murphy (64) is alleged to have stolen more than €18,000 from the Children to Lapland Appeal, a charitable organisation that he co-founded.
Speaking during a bail application, Mr Murphy -- who the court was told has been battling cancer -- claimed he has "nothing to hide" and insisted he has "no intention of running away".
Judge Bridget Reilly granted bail in his own bond of €2,000 with a cash lodgment of €1,000, as well as an independent surety.
The accused, who is also known as Con Murphy, appeared before Dun Laoghaire District Court charged with four counts of theft.
It is alleged that Mr Murphy, of Church Road, Killiney, stole cash amounting to €6,998 from the Children to Lapland Appeal on June 4, 2010.
He is also alleged to have stolen €6,500 from the same appeal on June 11, 2010; €4,000 on July 9, 2010; and €1,145 on July 28, 2010.
Gda Brian Davoren said he had no objection to bail, subject to conditions.
He asked that Mr Murphy surrender his passport, stay away from the head office of the Make It Happen Foundation, not apply for a collection permit and have no contact or work voluntarily for any charity.
Gda Davoren claimed Mr Murphy is a regular visitor to Thailand and said he fears the accused may flee the jurisdiction.
He said it is alleged that Mr Murphy stole €18,000 from a charity he was running, and he would have concerns about his involvement with any other charity.
He further stated that he would have questions about the way Mr Murphy kept the books, and there was a lack of financial records, particularly in relation to expenses and income from bucket collections.
Defence solicitor Ronnie Lynam objected to the bail conditions, arguing that Mr Murphy was not a flight risk and had cooperated fully to date with the gardai.
As part of his bail conditions, he must sign on once a week at Cabinteely garda station and notify gardai in advance of any change to his address.
Judge Reilly also ordered the accused's solicitor to notify the Make It Happen Foundation that he is before the court on theft charges.