A PROMISING young Irish basketball star who stole a top from a department store had just discovered that he had lost out on a scholarship to the United States.
Sean Kilmartin (21) was caught when he dropped the hoodie top as he walked out of the shop in the St Stephen's Green Shopping Centre.
He apologised for his behaviour, saying he had trained for years to get a basketball scholarship to the US and had just found out he'd missed out on it.
A court heard that Kilmartin, who has also spent some time playing basketball in Spain, has since been offered a basketball scholarship to attend another American university.
A judge struck out the charge after Kilmartin donated €150 to the St Vincent De Paul Society.
Kilmartin, of Nephin Road in Cabra, admitted before Dublin District Court to the theft of a hoodie top, worth €40, from Tk Maxx.
He was apprehended when he dropped the hoodie at the shop door.
The court heard that gardai were in the area on another matter at the time, and they later charged him.
Defence solicitor Peter Connolly said the incident was totally out of character for Kilmartin, who has no previous convictions and hasn't come to garda attention before.
Mr Connolly said Kilmartin has very good prospects and is heading off to the US to play basketball after he received a scholarship to attend an American university. The court also heard that Kilmartin played basketball in Spain. On the day of this incident, Mr Connolly said Kilmartin had received bad news about losing out on a scholarship and wasn't thinking straight when he took the top.
The solicitor said Kilmartin has since got a scholarship to attend another US university, and a conviction for theft would have a significant impact on his future prospects.
Mr Connolly said Kilmartin had €150 in court.
Judge Denis McLoughlin said gardai had spoken very fairly of Kilmartin and he believed everyone deserved a chance.
The judge ordered the money to be donated to St Vincent De Paul and he struck out the charge.