Friday, August 05, 2022

Tom Tuite

A therapist will face trial accused of using “forged” university degrees and professional qualifications in order to work as a clinical psychologist helping vulnerable children and adults in Dublin.

Zimbabwe-born Nikiwe Dube (39), with an address at Colpe Drive, Drogheda, Co Louth, appeared at Dublin District Court on Friday.

He is accused of forgery by making false instruments to obtain employment between 2019 and 2022.

Garda Alan Cawley objected to bail, citing “flight risk” concerns. The offences are contrary to Section 25 of the Theft and Fraud Act and can carry a maximum 10-year sentence.

Gda Cawley told Judge Cephas Power that Mr Dube had worked with “vulnerable children and adults”; however, his educational documents used to apply for the post “proved to be fraudulent”.

Gardaí searched his home and allegedly recovered forged papers and a Garda stamp, the court heard. Garda Cawley added that the accused has no family ties to Ireland.

During the contested bail hearing, Judge Power was told the accused claimed to have degrees from the University of Zimbabwe, but he never attended the institution.

In cross-examination, defence solicitor Conor McGreevy put it to the garda that it was a “complex investigation” and that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) must issue directions. The officer replied that further charges could be brought.

Refugee

Pleading for bail, the solicitor told the court his client came to Ireland in 2018 as a refugee fleeing persecution.

Stressing there was no suggestion that he forged his identity or used an alias, the solicitor submitted that the court could impose bail terms.

As a result of coming under the international protection process and being granted asylum, he has been given a travel document by the Department of Justice but cannot return to Zimbabwe.

The court heard it was alleged that he forged academic and professional qualifications.

Mr McGreevy told the court his client had no prior convictions, had lived and worked in Ireland, and was currently on social welfare, adding that he also had health problems.

The solicitor argued there is no evidence his client was a flight risk and that refusing bail would be disproportionate. He pleaded with the court to grant bail with a full suite of conditions.

Ruling on the application, Judge Power described the allegations as serious and noted they allegedly involved forged degrees from the University of Zimbabwe and membership of an Irish psychological body.

He held the investigating officer had established a flight risk objection. However, he noted the accused had been in the State for four years.

Due to the circumstances, the judge held that he could grant bail with conditions. However, he set Mr Dube’s bond at €20,000, of which he must lodge €10,000 and a €5,000 independent surety must be approved before he can be released.

Once the terms are met, the accused must reside at his current address, notify gardaí of any change and sign on twice daily at his local Garda station.

Mr Dube, who did not address the judge, was held in custody on these terms and remanded to appear at Cloverhill District Court on Thursday.

He has not yet indicated how he will plead.

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