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scott knight

Suspended jail sentence for man who tried to get passport under a fake name

Scott Knight made full admissions when he was arrested in 2021.

A DUBLIN MAN who stole another man’s identity in a bid to apply for a fake passport has been given a fully-suspended sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Scott Knight (48) of Palmerstown Park, Dublin 20, told gardaí he wanted the fake passport so he could go back to his girlfriend in the UK, where he believed he was wanted by the authorities.

The father-of-one pleaded guilty to providing false documents related to a passport application at Balbriggan Post Office, Co Dublin, on a date between December 8 and 10, 2015.

Passing sentence today, Judge Pauline Codd said the offence came to light in 2019 when Knight made a genuine application to renew his own passport.

The court heard that facial recognition software used in the passport office matched Knight’s photo to the same photo he had used in the fraudulent application in 2015.

Judge Codd said it was a serious offence to create false documents to support a passport application with the intention of duping the authorities. She also expressed concern over Knight’s 16 previous convictions which the court heard include drug-dealing, possession of drugs, and accessory to murder after the fact.

However, Judge Codd said Knight had cooperated fully with gardaí and had made genuine efforts to address his underlying addiction issues. She sentenced him to three years in prison but suspended it in full for two years, ordering Knight to abide by the supervision of the Probation Services for two years and attend all appointments as directed.

Detective Garda Padraig Hanley from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation gave evidence about the false and misleading information provided by Knight in December 2015.

He told Fiona Crawford BL, prosecuting, that Knight claimed his previous passport had been burned in a car fire in Manchester in 2011. Knight made the application in the name of a Michael McDonald, and included a birth certificate and a student ID card from Coláiste Dhúlaigh purporting to be in McDonald’s name.

The application also included a post office receipt of €80 for the passport application, two household utility bills. Detective Garda Hanley said it was an “amateurish enough” application and was rejected by the Passport Office. He told the court that when Knight applied to renew his own passport in 2019, he was already on the radar of the Integrity Department in Passport Services, as Knight had previously held 12 Irish passports in his own name.

Four of Knight’s passports had been reported lost and five had been cancelled by the Passport Office. Gardaí contacted the real Michael McDonald who said he had made no passport application in 2015 and did not know the accused man.

Knight was arrested in April 2021 and made full admissions, saying an associate had given him the false documents purporting to belong to McDonald.

The court heard Knight was previously sentenced to ten years for murder in 1996 under the name of Scott Delaney, but that after appeal the conviction was downgraded to accessory to murder after the fact and the sentence was reduced to five years.

Knight’s other previous convictions include smuggling of weapons and ammunition in France and possession of narcotics in connection with an illegal organisation in Belgium, where he is wanted by the authorities.

Detective Garda Hanley agreed with George Burns BL, defending, that this passport fraud was not as sophisticated as a lot of other such operations. The garda also agreed that there was no evidence that Knight was wanted by police in the UK.

Mr Burns said his client has attended a residential drug treatment course in Tiglin and has been drug-free for 16 months.

He said although a probation report puts Knight at high risk of reoffending, he has been engaging with support services and has not come to garda attention for almost two years. The court heard that Knight works for Crumlin Boxing Club who are trying to involve him in a CE scheme that would give him full-time employment.

A letter was also presented to court from a television journalist working with Knight to make a story about his life, stating that Knight would give any money he made from the project to services supporting addiction recovery.