Suspended sentence for beggar found with car ferry ticket to France

Galway Courthouse

A District Court Judge described as ‘laughable’ that a man caught begging on the streets of Galway had the money to book a ferry ticket to France.

Galway District Court heard a begging case against Sultan Berceni of no fixed abode, at Castle Street on September 15 last.

Berceni had been observed sitting on a duffle bag holding out a paper cup to people passing by begging for money.

Brian Gilmartin, defending, said his client was due to travel to France on June 19 on a ferry from Rosslare. He had booked a vehicle at a cost of €247.

The Court heard evidence through an interpreter, that Berceni, a married man with children, was bringing the car to France for someone else.

The Court was also told that the ferry may be affected by the ferry cancellations.

Berceni had €15 only to his name, according to Garda evidence.

Judge Mary Fahy said it was laughable that he was begging people for money while he had booked a ferry to France.

She described his evidence as ‘balderdash’ and wondered had he been dropped into the city for the purpose of begging.

She imposed a one-month prison sentence, suspended on his own bond of €200, on the condition that he stay away from Galway City and county and be of good behaviour.

Another man in an unrelated but similar case of begging also appeared before Judge Fahy.

Nicolae Muntean of 10 Willow Green, Willow Park, Athlone, pleaded guilty to begging on the footpath of Abbeygate Street at 4.15pm on December 15 last.

He too had been observed holding out a cup to pedestrians.

Muntean, who has a number of previous convictions, was given 100 hours of community service in lieu of one month in prison.