Wednesday 19 December 2018

African 'Peter Murphy' tried to use fake passport for free iPhone

Tanzania-born Sonkeni has lived in Ireland for 14 years
Tanzania-born Sonkeni has lived in Ireland for 14 years

A carer who used a bogus passport to try to get a free iPhone has been ordered to complete community service.

John Sonkeni (43) tried to destroy the fake South African passport when he was stopped by gardai in a shopping centre car park.

His lawyer, Patrick Jackson, claimed Sonkeni's plan was doomed to fail because shop staff were always going to be suspicious of "a black man with a South African passport under the Irish name of Peter Murphy".

Judge Dermot Dempsey ordered Sonkeni to complete 240 hours of community service in lieu of two months in prison.

The defendant, with an address at Clonmethan Green in Oldtown, Co Dublin, admitted before Swords District Court to having a fake passport.

The incident took place at the Pavilions Shopping Centre in Swords on October 27, 2016.

Sergeant Terry Ferguson said Sonkeni went into a phone shop and tried to buy four iPhones under a business bill plan.

As part of the requirements for the plan, Sgt Ferguson said the defendant produced a false South African passport in the name of "Peter Murphy".


The court heard that staff were unsure about the passport, and they asked Sonkeni to wait for 30 minutes while they processed his details. In the meantime, they contacted gardai.

Sgt Ferguson said Sonkeni became suspicious at having to wait for so long, and he left the shop.

He was stopped by gardai in the car park of the Pavilions centre, where he tried to destroy the fake passport.

Sgt Ferguson said the passport was examined by the Garda Technical Bureau and discovered to be a fake.

Mr Jackson said Sonkeni was trying to get a free phone, but it was not the best thought-out plan.

"A black man going by the name of Peter Murphy and with a South African passport is going to raise suspicions", said Mr Jackson.

He said that the defendant, who has a number of previous convictions, is originally from Tanzania and has lived in Ireland for 14 years.

Mr Jackson also said that his client Sonkeni has one child and is a full-time carer for his partner.

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