Former charity director Kerr guilty on ten fraud charges

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The former director of a Londonderry-based charity has been found guilty on ten charges of fraud after a trial at Londonderry Crown Court.

Eddie Kerr (61) from Ashfield Terrace in the city had denied 15 charges of fraud by false representation, forgery and using a false instrument with intent between September 2009 and March 2011 in relation to the charity SEEDS.

The jury of eight men and four woman had heard evidence since last Wednesday when the trial opened.

Yesterday evening they returned verdicts on ten of the charges and found Kerr guilty on seven and not guilty on the other three.

The jury then resumed deliberations on Thursday morning and returned another guilty verdict and another not guilty.

They then considered the final three charges and after a total of four hours altogether they found Kerr guilty of two more offences and not guilty of one.

A pre-sentence report was ordered and a defence barrister said he would be seeking medical reports on his client.

Kerr was released on continuing bail and will be sentenced on a date to be fixed during the week beginning April 20.

The trial had heard evidence that Kerr had submitted double funding applications to the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister and Derry City Council.

The prosecution had told the jury that the applications submitted by Kerr had been among 64 other applications and that by claiming for money he was not entitled to Kerry had deprived some of the other applicants from receiving funding.

The jury had heard that initially Kerr had produced a ledger in relation to the funding applications but had later dismissed this as inaccurate.

He then produced another ledger which according to a prosecution barrister showed ‘a major, major shift in the spending of a registered charity receiving government money.’

The barrister went on to say that Kerr didn’t until this investigation disclose to either (of the funding bodies) he was receiving funding from the other.

During police interviews Kerr had accepted making the applications and said that he used the extra funding for the charity and to fund other posts.

He accepted that what he was doing was probably wrong but had been done for the right reasons.

The charity SEEDS had been established in 2005 to help migrants who had set up home in the Londonderry area.