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Judge surprised teen astrophysicist ‘didn’t know his elbow from another part of his anatomy’

The teenager was given suspended prison term after admitting fraud by abuse of position and theft

A Lurgan teenager has been handed a suspended sentence for offences of dishonesty, from which he made no financial gain, whilst working at a local store.

The district judge commented that this was the first time in her “long” career she had read a pre-sentence report for an astrophysicist.

Luka McEnery, 19, of Annesborough Road, pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position and theft at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

This was the third in a series of defendants who had been convicted of this offence with the other two involved being handed community service.

District Judge Bernie Kelly stated: “I’m doing this job a long time, I have read pre-sentence report, after pre-sentence report, after pre-sentence report. This is the first time in my career I have read one for an astrophysicist.

“I am surprised to hear that an astrophysicist didn’t know his elbow from another part of his anatomy. He has also failed to tell his new employer that he stole in his previous job.”

Defence barrister David McKeown said: “There seems to be no rational explanation for what he did. It would appear it could be peer pressure or wanting to fit in”.

District Judge Kelly commented: “I do not believe he is that thick. If they gave him a gun and told him to shoot himself would he do it?”

Mr McKeown stated: “There is no explanation. He did react appropriately. He made full admissions to police and in advance of that told security what was going on.

“This has brought shame on his family. He is a very intelligent young man and he received stellar grades in his A-levels last year.”

He continued: “He knows there will be consequences but he did not think of those at the time. This was completely out of character and maybe we will never get to the bottom of it.”

District Judge Kelly stated: “The abuse of the trust of one’s employers is a serious offence. You are a bright, intelligent man with endless possibilities ahead of you.

“You got no financial gain from this, you ripped off your employer for what? Your mates, and where are they today?”

She added: “This was a guilty plea at the first opportunity, you have no previous record but you must inform your employer.

“There is a very important thing in life, it is called integrity and it starts with telling the truth no matter how difficult that is.”

McEnery was sentenced to three months in prison suspended for 18 months..

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