A Co Antrim man who defrauded his local GAA club of over £100,000 to fund his gambling addiction was spared being sent to jail yesterday.
Antrim Crown Court has heard that 47-year-old Patrick Kane, from Ardmoyle Park, Cushendall had since repaid the money to Ruain Og GAA club, of which he was treasurer.
The club said in its victim impact statement that Kane had been "a highly respected, trusted Treasurer and friend who had served on successive Executives Committees. No one had ever doubted his honesty or integrity".
"When the devastating news of his breach of trust broke, there was a widespread feeling of shock and disbelief," the club stated.
"Paddy's actions have had a crushing impact on the club ever since they were exposed."
Kane's offending came to light in late 2015 when confronted by a club member wanting to know the whereabouts of over £70,000.
Kane initially produced a bogus Danske Bank statement showing the monies, but it compounded the suspicions of the member who knew that particular bank branch had closed two years earlier. Confronted again, he readily admitted his guilt.
Kane, who appeared before the remote hearing from his solicitor's office, voluntarily repaid £113,500 to his club prior to police involvement.
In addition it was clear that Kane's motivation in taking the money was to fund his own gambling addiction, for which he had also undergone "extensive treatment" to address the problem prior to coming to court.
Kane who pleaded guilty to three charges of fraud by abuse of position, and one of false accounting, was sentenced by Judge Donna McColgan QC to 18 months, suspended for three years.