Saturday 24 February 2018

French chef who stole shoes to give his girlfriend on her birthday was skint 'from Dublin cost of living'

TK Maxx
TK Maxx

Andrew Phelan

A PARISIAN chef, who shoplifted shoes to give to his girlfriend as a birthday present, was out of cash because of the high cost of living in Dublin, a court heard.

Sofiane Yahiaoui (31) claims he stole three pairs of women's shoes rather than go back to his girlfriend "empty-handed" on her birthday.

Dublin District Court was told he had never stolen before and had decided to return home to Paris because the cost of living was "unsustainable" for him. Judge Grainne O'Neill adjourned the case and said she would leave him without a conviction if he made a €200 charity donation.

Yahiaoui, of Grosvenor Place, Rathmines, pleaded guilty to stealing the shoes, worth €141, from the TK Maxx store, at the Stephen's Green Shopping Centre.

"I am guilty, your honour," he told the judge.

The court heard the incident happened on July 31.

The accused selected the shoes and then left the shop without paying for them. He was stopped by security and the goods were recovered in a saleable condition.

It was his partner's birthday and rather than go home and face her without a gift, Yahiaoui made the "stupid decision" to steal a present for her, said defence solicitor Stephen O'Mahony.

He added that the accused was from Paris and had been living in Dublin since last year.

Mr O'Mahony told the court Yahiaoui was a qualified chef and came here to learn English. He had worked in various jobs but is unemployed now and intended to return home to Paris.

He said the accused found the cost of living in Dublin "quite high" and staying was not sustainable for him.

Stealing was something he had never done before, the court was told.

"If he can raise €200, I will leave him without a conviction," Judge O'Neill said.

The accused was due to travel to Paris but would return to Dublin within two months, Mr O'Mahony said.

The judge said it was a serious enough matter.

However, because the accused had no previous convictions and the property was recovered undamaged, she would be willing to apply the Probation Act if the cash was paid. If that did not happen, the accused would be convicted and fined €200.

She added that Yahiaoui was excused from attending on the next court date if the money was paid to the Laura Lynn Hospice.


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