Garda officer who illegally sold counterfeit designer goods could be ‘spared’ conviction, court told
Maeve Hamilton (39) was told the judge would spare her criminal convictions if a restorative justice report was favourable.
A garda who illegally sold counterfeit designer goods online has admitted breaching trademark laws.
Maeve Hamilton (39) was prosecuted after a fake Louis Vuitton bag was seized in a “controlled purchase”, with replica beanie and bobble hats found in a search of her home.
A court heard Hamilton had been selling second-hand clothing online as a hobby when she advertised the counterfeit goods with a “lack of thought” as to whether there were any copyright issues.
Saying what she did fell between “inadvertence and recklessness,” Judge David McHugh told the garda with an otherwise “unblemished record” he would spare her criminal convictions if a restorative justice report was favourable.
Hamilton, from Clonee in west Dublin, pleaded guilty to selling trademarked goods that she was not entitled to sell. The charges were under Section 92 of the Trade Marks Act
Detective Sergeant Ronan Waldron told Blanchardstown District Court that the investigation followed an anonymous call.
A clutch-style Louis Vuitton handbag that had been put up for sale for €40 on adverts.ie was seized following a controlled purchase. Genuine bags would sell for around €550, the court heard.
Gardaí obtained a search warrant and found further goods at Hamilton’s address, including counterfeit Canada Goose beanie hats, gilets and bobble hats. The total approximate value was €910.
Det Sgt Waldron agreed with defence solicitor Damien Coffey this was “entirely unconnected" with Hamilton’s work as a garda.
There was “no sophistication” and no attempt was made to hide the accused’s identity. It had not been difficult for the gardaí to identify her and she cooperated fully.
The three charges before the court were not sample counts but the totality of the offences.
Hamilton had not sold the items for “extreme financial gain,” Mr Coffey said. The goods had been bought for a low amount of money and sold for a very low amount, he said.
“This was not some factory shop,” Mr Coffey said.
Nobody was deceived, as the goods were advertised and sold as replica items.
Hamilton had begun selling her own second-hand items online as a hobby “as many people do” and then came across a website selling replica items. She bought them for her own personal use, before selling them onwards.
It was difficult to explain how someone so well-regarded in the gardaí allowed herself to end up in this situation, Mr Coffey said.
Hamilton had been having personal issues at the time.
“She never turned her attention to the fact that she was in breach of copyright,” he said.
Judge McHugh said the facts of the case were “unique.”
Hamilton had an unblemished career and the judge noted her commendations for “excellent police work”.
While a serving garda “should indeed have known,” he gave her the benefit of the doubt and said what she did lay “somewhere between inadvertence and recklessness”.
Hamilton brought €3,000 to court and the judge said €1,000 of this would go to charity with the rest split between the two companies Canada Goose and Louis Vuitton.
The judge adjourned the case and said he would strike the charges out if a restorative justice report was favourable.
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