Former Derry footballer avoids jail after large amount of fake cigarettes and fake shirts are found
A former professional footballer who was caught with a large stash of fakes, including football shirts and almost €50,000 worth of tobacco and cigarettes, has avoided going to jail.
Kevin Doherty was caught with the kit, worth tens of thousands of euros, when Gardai raided his home in Donegal.
Doherty, 46, with an address in Fern Park, Derry, pleaded guilty to the offenses at Letterkenny Circuit Court.
Cops raided Doherty’s home in Aileach Valley, Elaghbeg, Burnfoot on June 11, 2019 and found the stash of goods in a shed at the back of the house.
Garda Detective Joe English gave details of the raid in court.
Doherty was charged with selling or delivering 33,600 Excellence cigarettes, 12,200 Lambert & Butler Original Silver cigarettes, 400 Sterling Super King cigarettes and 2,000 Mayfair cigarettes, along with other items including 10,000 mg Premium Blend, 105 40 g packs of Domingo tobacco, 16 Packs of 50 g of Golden Virginia tobacco, 230 packs of 50 g of Flandria Golden tobacco, 100 packs of 50 g of Flandria Golden tobacco.
A customs officer confirmed that the transport did not bear the correct Irish revenue stamp.
The total value of the cigarettes was €37,833.30 and the tobacco €12,186.78.
Doherty was found in possession in connection with a clothing case bearing the marks of brands including Adidas, New Balance, Nike, North Face, Vans, Lacoste, Fred Perry, Ralph Lauren, Stone Island and Gym King.
The reserve included 29 Manchester United shirts, 19 Liverpool shirts, 20 Celtic shirts and 19 Barcelona shirts as well as nearly 250 pairs of Nike and Vans sneakers and a quantity of 645 DVDs and CDs.
Doherty pleaded guilty to offenses contrary to the Finance Act 2005 and the Trade Marks Act 1996.
Initially, Doherty told Gardai that he was storing the products for someone else and did not have a key to the shed.
A father-of-two, Doherty, who has seven previous convictions for similar offenses in Northern Ireland, later admitted he was given cigarettes and tobacco in exchange for possession of the merchandise. He was indebted to the landlord, the court heard, due to a gambling problem.
Doherty’s lawyer, Mr Gareth McGrory, said Doherty was a talented footballer and signed with Premier League club Southampton aged 16 and played football at various other clubs in England before returning at home, where he worked for several companies, including Seagate. . Doherty now operates a shop, in a small portable cabin, in the Galliagh area of Derry.
Judge John Aylmer said the offenses warranted 18 months in jail before considering mitigation. Taking into account Doherty’s situation, Judge Aylmer reduced the sentence to twelve months.
After the accused obtained an address in County Donegal, he was found fit for community service. Instead of 12 months in prison, a 240-hour community service order was imposed on Doherty.
Judge Aylmer also ordered the destruction of the goods and the confiscation of €555 in cash found in the raid.