A LEAGUE of Ireland footballer who stole sports gear while he was working in a shop begged a judge to leave him without a conviction as it would effect his chances of playing semi-professional football in Australia.
Paul Murray (22) was caught on CCTV cameras stealing runners, football boots and a Manchester United jersey while he worked for six weeks in Lifestyle Sports. A court heard that Murray, who plays with Airtricity League Of Ireland club Sporting Fingal, paid the company two weeks' wages after he was caught stealing.
Judge Brian Sheridan applied the Probation Act after Murray's lawyer, Valerie Buckley, said a conviction would affect his chances of playing football in Australia.
The defendant, of Termon Court, Poppintree, Ballymun admitted before Blanchards-town District Court to a single charge of theft. The incident took place at Lifestyle Sports, Blanchardstown on dates between September 1 and October, 14 this year.
Garda Sergeant Maria Callaghan said Murray worked in Lifestyle Sports for six weeks in September and October last, and during that period he stole six pairs of sports socks, a pair of Adidas runners, a training top, Manchester United jersey and a pair of football boots. Sgt Callaghan said Murray was caught on CCTV camera stealing the goods, which were all recovered.
The total value of the goods was €270.
The court heard Murray had no previous convictions.
Defence solicitor Valerie Buckley said the defendant was a footballer with Sporting Fingal, and had an opportunity to go to Australia to play semi-professional football. She said that a conviction for theft would make it difficult for him to get a visa to travel to Australia.
Ms Buckley said Murray admitted to the offence, co-operated with gardai and paid Lifestyle Sports two weeks wages, some €440, for the trouble he had caused.
Judge Sheridan said that in view of Murray's young age he would leave him without a conviction.