Eddie Kerr: Trial of former Seeds charity director begins

A former charity director has gone on trial at Londonderry Crown Court on fraud and forgery charges.

Eddie Kerr faces a total of 15 charges linked to alleged submissions of duplicate and fraudulent grant-aid applications to the Office of the First and Deputy First Ministers and to Derry City Council.

The 61-year-old from Ashfield Terrace in the Rosemount area of Derry denies committing the offences between September 2009 and March 2011.

The Seeds charity was set up in Derry to help ethnic minorities integrate with the local community.

Mr Kerr is charged with forging another man's signature on grant application forms, submitting false application forms and securing funding for his £30,000 per year salary and rent when funding for them had already been secured.

A prosecution barrister said the jury had to decide if the defendant's actions were dishonest and if he knew they were dishonest.

He said it was the prosecution case that Mr Kerr had applied for a salary administered by Derry City Council, and that "he also applied to the OFMDFM for, in essence, a double salary, thereby claiming two salaries for the same job."

The court was told that Mr Kerr was interviewed by the police in March 2012 and that the defendant had accepted that he was responsible for making and lodging applications.

Eddie Kerr accepted double-funding was being paid but he told the police he did not take the two salaries.

According to the prosecutor, the defendant said that he did take the Derry City Council salary, but that the money obtained from OFMDFM was used to pay for the charity's expenses and to employ other people.

The prosecutor said Eddie Kerr accepted that it was probably wrong but that he did it for the right reasons.

The trial continues.

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