By Fiachra Gallagher
An amateur heavyweight boxer who stole over €100,000 worth of cigarettes from a shop he was employed in has received a fully suspended three-year sentence.
Samuel Ilesanmi (22) stole the cigarettes on various occasions between September 2019 and August 2020.
Ilesanmi, of Deerpark Aveunue, Kiltipper, Tallaght, Dublin 24, pleaded guilty to several counts of theft at Centra, Castletymon Shopping Centre, Dublin 24, on dates ranging from September 29, 2019, to August 2020. He has no previous convictions.
At a sentencing hearing yesterday, Garda David Jennings told Diane Stuart BL, prosecuting, that when an audit was carried out in the Centra store around the bank holiday weekend last August, major discrepancies were discovered, first believed to be calculation errors.
It was later surmised that €114,863 worth of cigarettes had been stolen from the shop.
The court heard that using CCTV footage from the store, Ilesanmi was connected to the stolen cigarettes by gardai.
Gda Jennings told the court that Ilesanmi admitted to the thefts during interview, saying that he “got in with the wrong people”.
He admitted to “taking stuff that didn’t belong” to him, and said he was offered money by other parties for sleeves of cigarettes.
The court heard that gardai seized a mobile phone belonging to Ilesanmi, which contained photographs of large amounts of cash.
James Dwyer SC, defending, furnished several letters of support for his client to the court.
One letter, written by Kellie Harrington, champion amateur boxer and Ireland’s flagbearer at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, described Ilesanmi – “Big Sam” – as a “pleasure” to train alongside.
“I believe he has great potential to become one of Ireland’s greatest heavyweight boxers,” she wrote.
Ilesanmi expressed his own remorse through another letter submitted to the court, writing that “not a day goes by” where he does not think about his offending.
His financial gain from the offending gave him “a false sense of purpose and achievement”, he wrote. He wrote that in the year since his offending, he has “learned more” than he has his whole life.
Mr Dwyer echoed his client’s letter, telling the court of his client’s remorse and noted that engagement in sport – in Ilesanmi’s case, boxing – often steers young people “away from the road of criminality”.
He has a “capacity to live a good life”, Mr Dwyer said.
A letter from the defendant’s mother, who was present in court, spoke of Ilesanmi having “changed completely for the better” since offending.
Handing down sentencing today, Judge Martin Nolan said Ilesanmi had seemed to become “somewhat obsessed with living a high life”, which fuelled the offending.
Judge Nolan noted that Ilesanmi came from “a very good family”, seems to be “a very good boxer”, and accepted that he was “very remorseful and shameful” in respect of the offending.
“He has a future in front of him,” he said.
Judge Nolan sentenced Ilesanmi to three years imprisonment, suspending it in full on strict conditions.