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Newry pensioner accused of smuggling and selling counterfeit items and diamonds for 16 years

Newry courthouse police

A Newry pensioner allegedly “involved in smuggling and selling counterfeit items and diamonds for more than 16 years” has been ordered to stand trial.

Standing in the dock of Newry Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, Anne Rosaleen Darcy confirmed that she understood each of the 14 charges against her.

The 66-year-old, from Windsor Bank in in the city, faces 12 charges under trademark legislation, 11 of which are for possessing items which bore registered trademarks, or were likely to be mistaken for a registered trademark, “with a view to gain for yourself or another or with intent to cause loss to another and without the consent of the proprietor”.

The other charge involves the selling handbags “which bore a sign identical to, or likely to be mistaken for, a registered trademark”.

All charges are alleged to have been committed at her home on September 1, 2022.

Darcy also faces single charges of converting and transferring criminal property over a time span between January 22, 2018, and July 23, 2022.

The particulars of the offences allege that Darcy converted £86,820 cash and transferred bank credits.

Various fashion houses are also named in the trademark offences, including Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Givinchy, Prada, Balenciaga and Christian Dior.

According to a police statement from organised crime unit detectives at the time, the charges follow a search in which nearly 500 items of suspected counterfeit designer goods and a BMW car were seized.

None of the alleged facts of the case were opened in court, but previous courts heard claims that police seized 245 fake designer handbags during the raid. And with the 66-year-old admitting she makes £200-250 on each bag, “the minimum profit would be £49,000 on that seizure alone”.

During an earlier bail variation application, a detective outlined that, in addition to a room filled with allegedly counterfeit “handbags, belts, shoes and purses”, officers also uncovered £80,000 of diamonds “wrapped in paper”, as well as a “diamond grading report” from a business in Dubai dated January 1, 2011.

When Darcy was questioned, she made “full admissions” that she had been travelling back and forth to Dubai and also that the items in her house were all fake.

Since Darcy was initially interviewed, the court heard she had been further questioned “for further offences including money laundering, tax evasion and VAT fraud” and the police “have restrained a couple of bank accounts”.

In court on Wednesday, a prosecuting lawyer submitted there was a prima facie case, which was conceded by defence solicitor Gerald Trainor.

District Judge Eamon King said that, having read the papers, he was satisfied there was a case to answer. Darcy declined to comment on the charges or to call evidence to the court on her behalf.

Returning the case to Newry Crown Court for trial, Judge King released Darcy on continuing bail, with her arraignment scheduled to be heard on September 5.

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