A horse and carriage driver was found with a wallet full of counterfeit “movie prop money” when gardaí searched him.
Ross Hyland (26) had earlier found the fake €380 in cash in his carriage when he bought it and held on to it “for some reason” rather than handing it in at a garda station.
Judge Bryan Smyth said he would leave him without a criminal conviction if he made a charity donation in the same amount.
Father-of-one Hyland, of Blackhorse Grove, Dublin 7, pleaded guilty to possession of the counterfeit €5 notes.
Dublin District Court heard gardaí were on patrol at Donard estate, Cabra, last December 11.
They saw Hyland acting suspiciously in a vehicle and asked what he was doing.
He gave the officers permission to search the vehicle and they found a wallet containing €380 in denominations of €5, which were a fraudulent currency.Learn more
Garda Alan Reddy said the cash was “prop money” used as “motion props in movies”.
Hyland was arrested and made full admissions to being in possession of a false currency, he said.
Judge Smyth asked the garda “how close to a real note it was”.
Gda Reddy said it was “very close” and handed a sample in to court for inspection.
“It’s not quite the same texture,” Judge Smyth observed.
The garda said there were key security features missing from it, but it “could be passed off in a shop”.
“It does say ‘this is not legal tender”” the judge said.
He ordered the destruction of the notes.
Hyland used a horse and carriage for work, his solicitor Andrew Broderick said.
He saved up to buy the carriage and the counterfeit money was in it when he got it.
He knew he should have reported it to the gardaí, but “for whatever reason” he held on to it, Mr Broderick said.
Hyland had not used the money on customers “or anything like that”.
He made no gain from having the notes and was very remorseful.
The accused was not working at the moment because the “market was not there”, the court heard.
He was on Jobseeker’s Allowance but intended to resume employment after the lockdown ends, Mr Broderick said.
When he was working, he liked to travel abroad with his family and was anxious to avoid a conviction.
Judge Smyth adjourned the case and said he would apply the Probation Act if Hyland made a €380 charity donation.
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