Manorcunningham student on ‘money mule’ charge avoids court conviction

Manorcunningham student on ‘money mule’ charge avoids court conviction

A Manorcunningham computer science student who allowed €5,500 pass through his account and gave his bank card to a stranger has avoided a conviction.

Khaelim McSweeney earned just €113 for his part in the endeavour.

A 26-year-old of Meadowfield Manor, Manorcunningham, McSweeney was before the court this week where Judge Éiteáin Cunningham applied section 1.1 of the Probation Offenders’ Act.

Judge Cunningham said she deemed this a ‘most serious offence’ – and one that would ordinarily warrant a conviction.

Judge Cunningham said that she considered the matter and the steps taken in the intervening period by McSweeney.

While the gain to McSweeney was €113, Judge Cunningham said that ‘doesn’t condone the act itself’.

Having considered all of the circumstances and the plea of mitigation put forward by McSweeney’s barrister, Mr Simon Gillespie BL, she would spare the accused a conviction.

“On this occasion and this occasion only,” Jusge Cunningham said, “I will apply the Probation Offenders’ Act.”

Mr Gillespie, on behalf of the accused, said his client was ‘very grateful’.

Judge Cunningham said: “He won’t get afforded any further opportunities. I want it noted that this is not the usual manner to deal with this offence, but I have considered the exceptional circumstances.”

A sum of €1600 which was put forward as a token of remorse by McSweeney is to be given to the Autism Family Support group

Mr Gillespie, instructed by solicitor Mr Donough Cleary, said €1,600 was a sizeable sum for McSweeney, who is a social welfare recipient.

McSweeney was accompanied to court by his girlfriend and his mother.

The charge relates to a date between February 11, 2021 and February 12, 2021, both dates inclusive.

McSweeney was charged with converting, transferring, handling, acquiring, possessing or using the €5,500, money credited to a Bank of Ireland account in his name, knowing or believing that the property probably comprises the proceeds of criminal conduct.

The court was told that the accused allowed the money to be diverted from another account through his own account.

McSweeney subsequently allowed another person to use his bank card.

At the time of the offence, Mr Gillespie said McSweeney was a computer science student and said his client’s total benefit was €113.

“It is definitely at the lower end of the scale,” Mr Gillespie said. “He is a young man with no previous conviction and he tendered an early plea of guilty.”

Mr Gillespie said ‘naivety or stupidity’ had ‘got the better’ of McSweeney during a period when he was in a ‘vulnerable’ position while awaiting the payment of a student grant.

He asked the court to consider giving McSweeney, who has no previous convictions and who was fully co-operative, the benefit of the Probation Act.

“It has had a devastating effect on his day-to-day life,” Mr Gillespie said. “He unreservedly apologises for this.

“He specialises in cyber security and a conviction would make looking for work cumbersome and almost impossible.”

References on behalf of McSweeney were handed into court. Mr Gillespie said his client attends Skills Connect two days a week and through the Donegal Volunteer Centre dedicates Sundays and Wednesdays to assisting the Tidy Towns group while he also attends a Step In Step Up programme with DLDC.

Mr Gillespie said: “A conviction for a one-time mistake for very little benefit would be absolutely devastating. A conviction here would be devastating for his prospects.”

He added that the €1,600 was a token of McSweeney’s remorse and asked the court to show leniency given the ‘exceptional circumstances’.

Sergeant Jim Collins said what Mr Gillespie outlined was ‘an accurate reflection’.

Manorcunningham student on ‘money mule’ charge avoids court conviction was last modified: February 27th, 2024 by Staff Writer

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