A man who begged in Ballymena just yards from the town’s Courthouse has been fined £100.
Pavel Glogar (59) of Starfield, Randalstown, was caught begging at the Pentagon area in Ballymena town centre on June 3 last year.
His case had been previously adjourned and he was not present when his case was dealt with at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday when defence barrister Chris Sherrard said he was currently in his Czech Republic homeland.
In his absence, District Judge Peter King convicted Glogar on the evidential papers put before him.
At a previous court, Mr Sherrard said his client, who was on Jobseekers’ Allowance, had gone to the benefits office in Ballymena and was 20p short of his bus fare home and claimed it was not general begging.
Instead he said his client was seeking a “loan” of some money to travel from Ballymena to Randalstown.
At court on Thursday Mr Sherrard said his client, who had four previous convictions for theft, was married with children and had been living in Northern Ireland for ten years where he had worked in the now re-named O’Kane Poultry factory but lost his job in 2012.
Mr Sherrard said Glogar previously said he was going back to the Czech Republic for Christmas - and had not returned.
The lawyer said he had written to his client at the Randalstown address with no response and described the offence as “fairly low level”.