Man who travelled on someone else’s passport avoids jail

Man flew to Italy but was caught on return at Dublin Airport

When interviewed by gardaí, the accused declined to tell them why he had travelled with a passport that was not his. Photograph: Alan Betson

When interviewed by gardaí, the accused declined to tell them why he had travelled with a passport that was not his. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

A man who went to Italy using someone else’s passport after he discovered his own was out of date has been given a 16-month suspended sentence.

Edward McCarthy (31) travelled to Italy in May last year on a passport belonging to one Alan O’Reilly, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard on Friday.

Upon his arrival at Dublin airport, a passport official noticed McCarthy’s passport photograph did not match his appearance and he was arrested.

McCarthy, Reuben Street, Rialto, pleaded guilty to one count of the unlawful use of a passport at Dublin Airport on May 16th, 2016.

Garda Fergus Burke told Garrett Baker, prosecuting, that he was called to the airport after McCarthy was stopped at the arrivals area.

When interviewed by gardaí, McCarthy declined to tell them why he had travelled with a passport that was not his.

David Staunton, defending, told the court his client booked a holiday to Italy before he discovered his passport was out of date.

He sent off for a new passport, but the form was returned as it was incorrectly completed.

‘Foolish decision’

As a result, McCarthy made the “foolish decision” to travel on another person’s passport so he would not miss his holiday, Mr Staunton said.

The owner of the passport in question reported it as missing and had a new one issued, the court heard.

No flags were raised on this passport and McCarthy was only caught when a passport officer noticed it was not his photo.

McCarthy has 35 previous convictions, mostly for road traffic offences.

Mr Staunton said it was a very unusual case and the charge was not even listed in the Garda Pulse system. He said his client, a father-of-two, worked in a garage and had historic difficulties with alcohol and drugs, which may have “clouded his judgment” at the time of the offence.

Judge Martin Nolan accepted that McCarthy’s version of events was “probably true” and there did not seem to be any other “insidious explanation” as to why he might have travelled on another person’s passport.

He handed down a 16-month sentence but suspended it entirely on a number of conditions.