Royal British Legion ‘breach of trust’ accused sent to Crown Court

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A man who denies stealing cash in an alleged “breach of trust” at the Royal British Legion in Larne has had his case sent to Antrim Crown Court.

Kenneth MacDowell (57), whose address was previously given as Circular Road in Larne, faces five charges of the theft of cash totalling £1,904 from the Legion relating to dates in 2014 and 2015.

He is also accused of one count of fraud by false representation in that it is alleged he claimed he was an authorised signatory on a chequebook and entitled to the sum of £340. The seventh charge is burglary involving alleged entry into an office of the Royal British Legion premises in Larne’s Point Street when two cheques were stolen.

He appeared at Ballymena Magistrate’s Court on Thursday for a Preliminary Enquiry - the legal step to send his case to the Crown Court. MacDowell is accused of stealing £700 from the Royal British Legion in Larne on dates between March 9 and April 1, 2014.

On February 28, 2015, he is accused of stealing cash of £589.65 and on March 4, 2015, it is alleged he stole £194.35 cash. His fourth theft charge relates to £280.80 cash allegedly stolen on April 2, 2015, and the fifth charge is that he stole cash to the value of £140 from the Legion on March 18, 2015. The fraud by false representation charge relates to April 13, 2015. In his seventh charge it is alleged that on April 12, 2015, having entered as a trespasser, namely an office within the Royal British Legion, Point Street, Larne, he stole two cheques.

A prosecutor previously told the same court it was an alleged “breach of trust” matter.

At the earlier hearing, MacDowell elected to have the case dealt with at the Magistrates Court and pleaded “not guilty”.

However, District Judge Peter King said it was an alleged breach of trust case involving a charity and he directed it should be sent to the Crown Court and had adjourned the case for a Preliminary Enquiry.

At the Preliminary Enquiry on Thursday a prosecutor said she believed there was a case to answer and a defence solicitor said he had no contrary submissions.

Judge King released the accused on £500 bail and sent the case to Antrim Crown Court in June.