Belfast Telegraph

Ex-charity boss Eddie Kerr denies fraud and forgery charges as trial begins

By Donna Deeney

The former director of a registered charity in Londonderry that helps to integrate migrants into the local community has gone on trial at the city's Crown Court charged with 15 counts of fraud, forgery and of falsifying another man's signature to make grant and funding applications to three organisations.

Eddie Kerr (60), from Ashfield Terrace in the Rosemount area of the city, who is also a poet and playwright, denies committing the offences when he was the director of the charity Solidarity, Equality, Education, Diversity and Support (SEEDS) between February 2009 and March 2011.

A prosecution barrister told jurors that the case against the defendant was that he made several duplicate applications to the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister, to Derry City Council and to the North-West 3 Peace Cluster organisations for funding for his £30,000 a year salary as director of SEEDS and for rent reimbursements.

The barrister described the defendant's alleged actions as dishonest, as he must have known that when applying to one of the organisations for financial assistance, he'd already received funding from another of the groups for the same purpose.

"The prosecution case is that the defendant knew full well that if he had disclosed to one of the organisations that he'd already received funding, that he would not have received further funding for the same purpose," he told the jury.

"In essence, we simply don't know what he did with the money," the barrister added.

The prosecutor told the jurors that in his second police interview the defendant handed the officers a pre-prepared written statement.

"It stated: 'If I am culpable of anything, it is of reprofiling money without permission and of poor administrative practices.

"'I am conscious this was public money and as such I am accountable for that spend'," the barrister said.

Mr Kerr is well-known in the Derry area as a poet and raconteur and is the joint author of Tie It To The Moon.

He also describes himself as a freelance community facilitator and trainer on a professional profile.

The trial continues.

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