Judge says immigration officials need to alerted to repeated thefts by asylum seeker

Judge David Waters noted that Mr Zecker had appeared before the courts on similar charges on a number of previous occasions

Tralee Courthouse. File photo

Simon BrouderKerryman

A KERRY judge has said that the State needs to be made aware of an asylum seeker who has now been before the courts six times in relation to shoplifting incidents.

Khaled Zecker (26) who currently resides at the Linden House Direct Provision Centre at New Road Killarney appeared before Tralee District Court charged with two counts of shoplifting at Manor West Retail Park in Tralee on New Year’s Eve.

He was charged with the theft of a set of Philips Headphones worth €100 from Tesco, Manor West Tralee on December 31, 2022 and with the theft of a Manchester United branded zip up top worth €50 from the neighbouring Lifestyle Sports shop in the shopping centre on the same date.

The goods were recovered soon after they were stolen and, the court heard, the businesses in question had suffered no financial loss.

Defence Solicitor Brendan Ahern told Judge David Waters that his client was an asylum seeker who had been residing in Ireland for the last three years as he awaits a decision on his application for asylum.

Mr Ahern said that Mr Zecker had been “moved from centre to centre” and has previously resided at direct provision centres in Cork, Tralee and Cork.

The court heard that Khaled Zecker has been before the courts in Cork and Kerry on five previous occasions in relation to similar theft charges.

While he had admitted the offences on those occasions he had been given the benefit of the court poor box and probation services and had avoided a conviction.

Judge Waters noted that Mr Zecker had appeared before the courts on similar charges on a number of previous occasions and said it was time that the relevant immigration authorities were made aware he had committed offences while seeking asylum.

“He’s been given chances before,” said Judge Waters.

“I’m well aware of the impact a conviction and fine could have on his application,” Judge Waters added having previously pointed out that Mr Zecker has now been before the courts in relation to seven separate theft offences.

The court heard Mr Zecker was in receipt of approximately €50 per week and Judge Waters imposed a fine of €50 for each offence bringing the total penalty to €100.

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