Connect with us


Man avoids jail for stealing from Cork cat charity he founded

A 32-year-old founding member of an animal welfare charity which cared for abandoned cats has avoided jail after he managed to pay back €27,500 he stole in order to fund his online gambling addiction.

Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard that Owen Collins of Mountain Barracks, Mitchelstown, Co Cork, had developed a pernicious gambling problem and subsubsequently started stealing from the charity, Cat Haven.

The electrician, who has worked all his life, pleaded guilty to stealing €27,500. He has paid the money back on an incremental basis from his wages in addition to receiving support from his partner and her family.

Defence barrister Hannah Cahill said that her client had gained “great solace” in assisting kittens and cats and that it helped him to deal with his grief having lost his father, sister and mother in tragic circumstances.

Unfortunately, his gambling addiction became a factor in his life. Judge Helen Boyle was told that he stole from his own charity from June 2017 to March 2019 to pay for online gambling with bookmakers Bet365. The sums of money stolen ranged from €10 to €7,500.

Collins acted independently and none of the other trustees had any knowledge that he used the charity bank account for gambling.

Cat Haven had been granted charitable status by the Charities Regulator in December 2018 having been founded the previous year.

The charity, which is no longer in operation, took in abandoned and unwanted cats and kittens in order to re-home them after they had been neutered, microchipped and vaccinated. Cat Haven was deregulated as a charity in January of last year.

Prosecuting counsel Dermot Sheehan said that there was 39 charges of theft on the original indictment. In April 2021, Collins pleaded guilty to 10 sample counts involving the loss of €27,500 from the charity. The case was adjourned at regular intervals in order to allow Collins time to raise compensation.

Det Garda Maura O’Riordan said Collins was genuinely involved in the rescue of kittens and cats. Initially in 2017, when he was given donations by the public he used a personal bank account to deposit the money. In February 2018, a charity bank account was established with Bank of Ireland.

Det Garda O’Riordan said the alarm was raised by a former volunteer who became suspicious of Collins. Collins presented to the Bridewell Garda station in Cork in May 2020 where he made full admissions of his guilt. He has since paid back all the money he stole. The money will be distributed to animal welfare charities in the Cork area.

Ms Cahill said that her client had sought help for his gambling addiction.

“He indicated that he was solely responsible. He has put his best foot forward and hasn’t come to Garda attention since. He is extremely remorseful. He used poker as an escape from his life. It took this incident to admit to himself that he was an addict.

“He has closed his online gambling accounts. He has closed his bank accounts and only has a credit union account. His partner manages that.”

Ms Cahill said that the defendant had had a difficult upbringing and was in foster care as a young man. She stated that he was extremely ashamed of his actions and wanted to offer his sincere apology to other volunteers, trustees and donors.

The judge noted his early guilty plea and emphasised that Collins had made efforts to address his gambling problem. She read a letter from his employer and noted that he was a hard worker who was starting to get his life back on track.

The judge said that the aggravating factor in the case was that it involved a “relatively significant amount of money stolen over an extended period of time”.

She said that Collins had had a “background of loss” and a “fractured upbringing”. She said that it was a mid-range case and imposed a custodial sentence of 30 months which she suspended in its entirety for a period of 30 months. Collins vowed to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.

Source link


Welcome back, Samuel Beckett | Culture

The 20th century brought us Stalin, Mao, two world wars, the Holocaust, atomic bombs and a couple more carnages that I would rather not recall. Several million people died as a result, according to the most conservative calculations. Logically, the soul of Europeans was shaken, and it is admirable that we have survived as a species. A Martian would have expected us to commit suicide once and for all with a big nuclear bash.

The battered world conscience led to several new outcomes in terms of human representation. Living with the constant threat of extinction affected artists, who are the ones that truly represent us and not politicians. So the artists began to represent us as they saw us: strange, deformed, shapeless, anomalous, invisible, crippled, stuttering, or simply mute.

We have been more temperate for several years now, and it seems that we are now able to analyze that past, which was called “the avant-garde,” with some calm. Not everywhere, of course, but it is possible in a West that is fading, but which is no longer massacring its slaves. And the effect that this awareness of destruction had on literature was the emergence of a group of immense writers who could no longer represent humans in a luminous and heroic way, so to speak. However, it would be a very bad idea to leave them for dead. Joyce, Proust, Kafka, Faulkner, Bernhard, Manganelli, Benet, Rulfo — throughout the West, a literature took shape during the 20th century in which only the bare form remained with a capacity to simply be. And one of its main writers was Samuel Beckett.

It is a source of joy that this difficult, harsh, dark, but wise literature’s ability to fascinate, moralize and illuminate us has not run dry. And reading these artists is a very convenient way to understand that everything could go dark at any moment. I am currently celebrating the release of a new Spanish translation of Watt, Beckett’s last novel in English, by an affordable publishing house that can reach many students (Cátedra).

The story behind this novel is another novel in itself, well told by the translator José Francisco Fernández in his extensive foreword to the new Spanish version. Beckett wrote it while fleeing from one hideout to another as a member of the Resistance, pursued by the Nazis who were occupying France. In those absurd conditions, Beckett carried his notebooks, in which he was writing and annotating what would finally become the novel Watt, which is the name of the main character, who is as non-existent as Godot, the most famous of Beckett’s characters. Watt has a partner, Mr. Knott, whom he serves in a parody of the old novels of masters and servants that have been immortalized thanks to television series like Upstairs, Downstairs.

Rejected by the publishing world

Although he finished it in 1945, Watt was not published until 1953 after being rejected by almost all English and American publishers, who were very reluctant to recognize that this convulsive and sarcastic prose was a faithful portrait of 20th-century civilization. And once it was published it barely made an impact. It was not until 1968 (what a year!), when it was published in French by the Minuit publishing house, in the author’s version and with the help of the Janvier couple, that enthusiasm for the novel would begin to get some traction. The French powers-that-be recognized themselves in the portrait of the warped, disintegrated human race, described with a lacerating irony that the Irishman created out of nothing.

There were other effects that fascinated those who dominated literary opinion at the time. One of them was the obvious caricature of Descartes, a philosopher whom Beckett always counted among his favorites, and the reference to whom was immediately picked up by the masters of structuralism and deconstruction.

Welcome back, then, to our Beckett, a precise portraitist of terrifying years that could return at any moment.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get more English-language news coverage from EL PAÍS USA Edition

Source link

Continue Reading


The Hat Worn By Napoleon Bonaparte Sold For $2.1 Million At The Auction

A faded felt bicorne hat worn by Napoleon Bonaparte sold for $2.1 million at an auction on of the French emperor’s belongings.

Yes, that’s $2.1 million!!

The signature broad, black hat, one of a handful still in existence that Napoleon wore when he ruled 19th-century France and waged war in Europe, was initially valued at 600,000 to 800,000 euros ($650,000-870,000). It was the centerpiece of Sunday’s auction collected by a French industrialist who died last year.

The Hat Worn By Napoleon Bonaparte Sold For $2.1 Million At The Auction

But the bidding quickly jumped higher and higher until Jean Pierre Osenat, president of the Osenat auction house, designated the winner.

‘’We are at 1.5 million (Euros) for Napoleon’s hat … for this major symbol of the Napoleonic epoch,” he said, as applause rang out in the auction hall. The buyer, whose identity was not released, must pay 28.8% in commissions according to Osenat, bringing the overall cost to 1.9 million euros ($2.1 million).

While other officers customarily wore their bicorne hats with the wings facing front to back, Napoleon wore his with the ends pointing toward his shoulders. The style, known as “en bataille,” or in battle, made it easier for his troops to spot their leader in combat.

The hat on sale was first recovered by Col. Pierre Baillon, a quartermaster under Napoleon, according to the auctioneers. The hat then passed through many hands before industrialist Jean-Louis Noisiez acquired it.

The entrepreneur spent more than a half-century assembling his collection of Napoleonic memorabilia, firearms, swords and coins before his death in 2022.

The sale came days before the release of Ridley Scott’s film Napoleon with Joaquin Phoenix, which is rekindling interest in the controversial French ruler.

Continue Reading


The Call for AI Regulation in Creative Industries

THE VOICE OF EU | Widespread concerns have surged among artists and creatives in various domains – country singers, authors, television showrunners, and musicians – voicing apprehension about the disruptive impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on their professions.

These worries have prompted an urgent plea to the U.S. government for regulatory action to protect their livelihoods from the encroaching threat posed by AI technology.

The Artists’ Plea

A notable rise in appeals to regulate AI has emerged, drawing attention to the potential risks AI poses to creative industries.

Thousands of letters, including those from renowned personalities like Justine Bateman and Lilla Zuckerman, underscore the peril AI models represent to the traditional structure of entertainment businesses.

The alarm extends to the music industry, expressed by acclaimed songwriter Marc Beeson, highlighting AI’s potential to both enhance and jeopardize an essential facet of American artistry.

The Call for AI Regulation in Creative Industries

Copyright Infringement Concerns

The primary contention arises from the unsanctioned use of copyrighted human works as fodder to train AI systems. The concerns about AI ingesting content from the internet without permission or compensation have sparked significant distress among artists and their representative entities.

While copyright laws explicitly protect works of human authorship, the influx of AI-generated content questions the boundaries of human contribution and authorship in an AI-influenced creative process.

The Fair Use Debate

Leading technology entities like Google, Microsoft, and Meta Platforms argue that their utilization of copyrighted materials in AI training aligns with the “fair use” doctrine—a limited use of copyrighted material for transformative purposes.

They claim that AI training isn’t aimed at reproducing individual works but rather discerning patterns across a vast corpus of content, citing precedents like Google’s legal victories in the digitization of books.

The Conflict and Seeking Resolution

Despite court rulings favoring tech companies in interpreting copyright laws regarding AI, voices like Heidi Bond, a former law professor and author, critique this comparison, emphasizing that AI developers often obtain content through unauthorized means.

Shira Perlmutter, the U.S. Register of Copyrights, acknowledges the Copyright Office’s pivotal role in navigating this complex landscape and determining the legitimacy of the fair use defense in the AI context.

The Road Ahead

The outpouring of concern from creative professionals and industry stakeholders emphasizes the urgency for regulatory frameworks to safeguard creative works while acknowledging the evolving role of AI in content creation.

The Copyright Office’s meticulous review of over 9,700 public comments seeks to strike a balance between innovation and the protection of creative rights in an AI-driven era. As the discussion continues, the convergence of legal precedents and ethical considerations remains a focal point for shaping the future landscape of AI in creative industries.

Thank You For Your Support!

— By Darren Wilson, Team

— For more information & news submissions:

— Anonymous news submissions:

Continue Reading


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!