Monday 11 December 2017

Teen spared sentence over fake charity collections

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)

Tom Tuite

A 15-YEAR-OLD boy, who pretended he was raising money for a homeless charity, has been spared custodial sentence.

Judge John O’Connor imposed a 12-month probation supervision bond on the boy.

The Dublin Children’s Court heard that on August 23 last year at Dublin’s Liffey Valley Shopping Centre the teenager had a fake Fr Peter McVerry Trust sponsorship card and a photo-copied ID badge.

In a victim impact statement, a representative of the charity said this type of activity has an impact on the generosity of people, homeless people could reluctant to look for care and donations could be affected.

Judge O’Connor told the boy that this charity deals with vulnerable people while, “What you see you feel you can take” and he had embarrassed his mother, who was present of the hearing.

The teenager also stole a set of blinds from a shop at the centre in Nov. 7 last and clothes worth €35 from another shop there on Dec. 10 last. The court heard that the teenager stole clothes worth €225 from Arnotts on Dublin’s Henry Street on Oct. 10 last.

On August 18 last he was caught carrying out another fake charity collection in a residential estate and on August 28 he stole five bottles of Georgio Armani aftershave from a shop.

The schoolboy pleaded guilty to all the charges

The judge had been concerned the boy using vulnerable charities, which he described as “absolutely appalling”. He told the teenager that he was using other people’s good nature for his own greed.

He said the Fr Peter McVerry Trust does very good work and he cannot have it trivialised by the boy, who cannot be named because he is a minor.

He also warned that this sort of behaviour could land the boy in custody but it would seen as a positive if he completed the Junior Cert exams which he did earlier this month. He had also said fake charity collections were a recurring problem.

Defence solicitor Michell Finan said the boy was genuinely humbled after hearing the victim impact statement. He has co-operating with the Probation Service and his family were very grateful for their help. He has also been attending a young mentoring programme.

Judge O’Connor ordered the teenager to remain under supervision of the Probation Service for the next 12 months. If he failed to comply the case would come back to court and he would an alternative sentence, the judge warned.

Another youth is awaiting sentencing for taking part in the fake charity collection scam.

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