Admits possessing counterfeit currency

Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66
Derry's Courthouse on Bishop Street. 3003JM66

A man who was badly burned in a fireball as a child has received a suspended jail term for possessing counterfeit currency.

Ciaran McFeeley, of Foreglen Road, Claudy, pleaded guilty to possessing counterfeit currency, driving with excess alcohol, driving whilst disqualified and having no insurance.

He also admitted taking the car without authority on October 9, 2012.

Derry Magistrates Court heard that police were called to Earth Nightclub after staff detained three men for passing counterfeit currency.

When police arrived the staff pointed out the car the men had arrived in which was parked a short distance away and they identified 24-year-old McFeeley as a driver.

He failed a preliminary breath test and officers discovered £1,500 worth of counterfeit £20 notes in the car.

During police interview McFeeley admitted he had drive to the city from Foreglen, despite being a disqualified driver. However, he denied any knowledge of the counterfeit currency.

Defence counsel Ivor McAteer told the court his client has a ‘significant facial disfigurement’ after being badly injured in a ‘fireball’ as a child.

He added the 24-year-old would ‘do anything’ to avoid being sent to prison.

The barrister said McFeeley is unlikely to be back before the court and is ‘doing everything he can to live a normal honourable life’.

Suspending a five month jail term for two years, District Judge Barney McElholm also fined him £200 and disqualified him from driving for three years. He also ordered the destruction of the currency.