A former professional footballer was caught with tens of thousands of euro worth of fake replica soccer jerseys, cigarettes, DVDs and sports clothing when Gardai raided his home.
Kevin Doherty pleaded guilty to a number of charges when he appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court in Co Donegal.
Gardai, led by Detective Michael Galvin, forced their way into the 44-year-old’s house in Burnfoot when they got no reply on June 11th, 2019.
A search of the premises found a huge haul of goods in the garden shed on the grounds of the house.
Among the haul was almost €50,000 worth of cigarettes and tobacco as well as hundreds of pairs of fake Nike and Vans trainers as well as dozens of replica jerseys and other fake clothing including Ralph Lauren, Adidas, New Balance, Nike, Fred Perry and Gym King.
When quizzed by Gardai, Doherty initially claimed he didn’t have a key for the shed and that he was just storing them for somebody else.
However, he later admitted that he was being supplied with cigarettes and tobacco in exchange for holding the fake goods and that he was in debt to the owner of the goods due to a gambling addiction he had.
The court was told the goods were being sold from a makeshift cabin in the Galliagh area of Derry.
Doherty pleaded guilty to keeping for sale or delivery specified tobacco products without the appropriate tax stamp contrary to the Finance Act of 2005.
The accused, with an address at Fern Park in Derry, also pleaded to the fraudulent application or use of trade mark in relation to goods contrary to Section 92 of the Trade Marks Act 1996.
Evidence of the raid was given by Detective Garda Joe English.
The court was told there had been a delay in the case as Gardai had to contact a number of Premiership Football Clubs to establish if the goods were fake.
Barrister Gareth McGrory outlined his client’s circumstances saying his father had died three years ago and this had had a huge impact on his life as they were very close.
Doherty had played professional footballer in England with a number of clubs including Southampton from the age of 17 until he was 21 but he had returned to Derry and had worked in a number of local companies including Seagate.
He had suffered from a gambling addiction since he was just 24 years old and he did admit to using alcohol to excess but didn’t dabble in any drugs and had issues with mental health for which he had been prescribed anti-anxiety medication.
Mr McGrory said his client was physically able to work and suggested that he could move from Derry to an address in Donegal and complete any community service programme the court may order instead of imposing a custodial sentence.
Mr McGrory added that the case certainly wasn’t the smallest of such cases but similarly it wasn’t the largest Gardai have come across and that his client had no other cases pending.
The court was told the tariff for such offences was up to five years in jail or a fine of €126,000.
Judge John Aylmer said he would have to consider the case and adjourned it for final sentencing until next week.