By Paul Ainsworth

THE Ballynafeigh Community Development Association were “shocked” to learn a man convicted last week for stealing almost £20,000 from them had been jailed previously for a similar offence.

South Belfast man Matt Millar was handed a suspended sentence last Friday at Belfast Crown Court, after being convicted of stealing £17,524 from the Ormeau-based organisation between 2006 and 2009.

The 58-year-old from Stranmillis Mews had cashed a number of cheques to himself from the BCDA while employed by the organisation and upon arrest, pleaded guilty to the theft charge.

However, the local group, which works on community integration in the upper Ormeau neighbourhood, only learned Millar had a conviction for a previous offence when it was revealed by Judge Patrick Lynch, who told him that being jailed over 30 years ago “should have been a warning to you.”

Millar was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment last week, suspended for a period of three years.

Speaking to the South Belfast News, Gerry Tubritt of the Ballynafeigh Community Development Association said the organisation had “no idea” about Millar’s previous conviction.

 

“This incident displayed a real breach of trust which was felt throughout the whole organisation.”

 

“This whole process has been very painful for us,” he said.

“However, we have taken steps to recover the money, and have succeeded in getting it all back, so none of it was lost. Yet this was still a big shock to us when we found out this individual had a previous conviction for a similar offence in the past. We had no idea about it.

“This incident displayed a real breach of trust which was felt throughout the whole organisation. Thankfully the matter has been dealt with through the courts and we can move on.”

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