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Sunday 22 October 2017

'Accidental beggar' accepted money from passers-by

Christopher Duff pleaded guilty to begging without a licence. (Stock picture)
Christopher Duff pleaded guilty to begging without a licence. (Stock picture)

A St Patrick's Festival reveller who sat down on a city centre footpath with a coffee did not correct people when they mistakenly took him for a beggar and began throwing money into his cup.

Christopher Duff (48) had finished his drink when pass-ers-by, who thought he was looking for cash, began giving him money.

He did not stop them, but his fortune took a turn for the worse when a garda spotted him and arrested him for illegal begging.

Duff pleaded guilty to begging without a licence.

Judge Anthony Halpin app-lied the Probation Act, leaving him without a conviction.

Dublin District Court heard the incident happened at Bachelors Walk last March 18.

The court heard gardai saw Duff begging with a cup and his legs stretched out across the footpath.

Obliging

Defence barrister Donal Pattison said the accused had been in the city centre enjoying the St Patrick's Day celebrations which had continued into March 18.

Duff, who is of no fixed address, had gone into town to "cheer himself up", bought himself a cup of coffee and sat down with it.

When he was finished, people started giving him money and he did not stop them to tell them they were mistaken.

The judge remarked that people had been "very obliging" to the accused.

"He is very apologetic and very embarrassed to be before the court today," Mr Pattison said.

The judge said: "You can't make this up. It's like if you stand in O'Connell Street and you look up in the air, after a while you have everybody looking up.

"I have to admire your courage in making that submission."

He dismissed the charge under the Probation of Offenders Act.

Begging is an offence and carries a potential maximum penalty on conviction of one month in prison.

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