THE unusual question of what to do with 60 pairs of counterfeit runners was debated at a recent sitting of Carlow District Court. The issue arose in the case of Eric Corbally, who pleaded guilty to two counts possessing counterfeit goods for the purpose of sale, contrary to the Trademarks Act.
Sergeant Hud Kelly said gardaí were carrying out a Covid-19 checkpoint when they stopped the defendant’s vehicle at O’Brien Road, Carlow on 4 May 2020. “During a cursory search, five boxes of counterfeit runners were found. Agents for Balenciga and Adidas later confirmed they were counterfeit,” said Sgt Kelly.
Sgt Kelly said the 35-year-old defendant, with an address at Brookfield Avenue, Maynooth, intended to sell the runners at €20 a pair and their total value was put at €1,200.
Defending solicitor Chris Hogan said that at the time his client had returned to education and was in receipt of a small grant.
“With three children between two and nine, he was under pressure for money. He was doing research on how to raise some money and came across on DoneDeal four boxes of trainers; he purchased them for €600 and he was going to sell them at markets.”
However, Covid-19 struck and put a halt to his plans.
“He was travelling down to Carlow to visit his sister when he was stopped by gardaí,” the solicitor said.
Mr Hogan said his client had not realised they were counterfeit goods and pointed out that he had given permission to gardaí to search the vehicle. “He thought he had made a good deal,” said the solicitor.
Judge Carthy queried what would happen to the runners. Sgt Kelly said they were being retained as evidence, but would likely be destroyed.
Judge Carthy said that would be a waste and wondered if there was any use for them, which sparked something of a brainstorm between gardaí, the judge and solicitors. Sgt Kelly said the gardaí could not be seen to be distributing counterfeit runners. He remarked on “the confusion” that could arise if garda members were seen walking down the street in a pair of Adidas.
Solicitor Joe Farrell suggested a charity shop may have use of them, but Mr Hogan said there could be problems with supplying counterfeit products to a shop. A suggestion from Mr Hogan won agreement that the best solution would be to provide the runners to the Monastery Hostel in Carlow or the Good Sheppard Hostel in Kilkenny for those facilities to distribute as they wished.
Judge Carthy imposed a fine of €600 on Mr Corbally.