False photo on passport gets Tallaght man one year in jail

By Fiona Ferguson

A Dublin man whose details were on a passport application which was discovered by officials to contain a photograph of a different person has been jailed for one year.

The court heard Dean Comerford (25) was not “the mastermind” behind the offence and that the person in the photograph accompanying the application has never been identified.

Dublin Courts 4

Comerford’s involvement was to put together the application containing his details. This application later went forward to the passport office with a “spliced” photograph of a different person.

Comerford, of Knockmore Green, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to providing false information in the course of applying for a passport on a date between April 1 and 13, 2015.

Garda Peter Ennis told Elva Duffy BL, prosecuting, that in January 2015 Comerford attended at Tallaght Garda station for certification in relation to identification for a passport application and his photo was stamped in the normal way.

Garda Ennis said he was later contacted by the fraud department at the passport office who were suspicious of the application in Comerford’s name and of the accompanying photograph.

It was discovered that the original photograph had been “spliced” with the garda signature peeled from the genuine photograph and an image of a different person put on the front. All other details on the application were Comerford’s genuine details.

Judge Karen O’Connor said it was an aggravating feature that it was a premeditated act on Comerford’s part in attending at the garda station to seek their assistance in the application and noted this type of offending supports criminality.

Judge O’Connor imposed a two-and-a-half-year sentence. She suspended the final 18 months on strict conditions, including 12 months probation supervision.

The court heard that because of concerns about the application, another certificate of identity had been sent out for Comerford. A co-accused, Derek Corr, attended at a GP’s surgery and persuaded the doctor to endorse the form confirming Comerford’s identity without meeting him.

Corr (31), of Killinarden Estate, Tallaght, received a five-year sentence with the final four years suspended last February. The GP was prosecuted in the District Court.

Sarah Jane O’Callaghan BL, defending, put it to Garda Ennis that Comerford was anxious to put his hands up and not to seek to blame others. Garda Ennis said he believed Comerford knew what he was participating in, but did not believe he was the mastermind.

Ms O’Callaghan said Comerford had a difficult background and began “smoking hash” at 14 years of age before moving onto cocaine, alcohol and tablets. She said at the time he was someone with a serious drug problem.

She said his father died when he was young and he acted as a carer for his ill mother. She said he participated in the TV programme “Diarmuid’s Pony Kids” which he enjoyed. Counsel said it appeared he excelled when given opportunities, but seemed to relapse.

Comerford has 14 previous convictions, two for public order offences and the remainder for road traffic offences.

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