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Saturday, September 30, 2023

‘Raft of enquiries going on’ into identity of man arrested by gardaí at Cork passport office

The Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation have established through international enquiries that the arrested 70-year-old man identifying himself as Philip Frank Morris is not this person and, in fact, this was an infant who died in 1952 at the age of four months.

“We have made extensive enquiries. He is not Philip Frank Morris. He died at four months old. We have interviewed his brother,” Detective Garda Padraic Hanley of GNBCI said today  at Cork District Court.

The man identifying as Philip Morris appeared in court by video link from prison. His solicitor, Frank Buttimer, appeared on his behalf in court.

Det Garda Hanley said: 

“We are making enquiries internationally with Interpol all over the world. We have a raft of enquiries going on at this stage.” 

Mr Buttimer said for the purpose of clarification: “The person that you believe is Philip Frank Morris is (a) deceased and (b) not this person here, and that you are continuing your enquiries to establish who this gentleman may be.” 

The solicitor asked the detective how long it was anticipated that the enquiries would take “because he is not in his first flush of youth”.

Det Garda Hanley replied that it was impossible to say, adding: “It could be tomorrow, it could be two weeks. I feel there will be further charges as well.” 

Judge Olann Kelleher said: “It seems to be moving quickly – even without cooperation (of the defendant).” 

September 15

The judge was told on September 15 that the defendant had used the name of a baby who died 11 days after his birth in 1952 to apply for a passport in Cork. It was clarified today that the infant died at four months.

There are two similar charges against the man whose real identity is unknown. One refers to an unknown date between September 12 and 25 2012 at the Passport Office on South Mall, Cork and the application for the issue of a passport. The particulars of the charge state that he provided information for the issue of a passport which were false or misleading in a material respect and which he knew or believed were false or misleading or were reckless as to whether they were false or misleading.

The second charge is similar but refers to a different date, June 7 2022.

Det Garda Hanley said the defendant was arrested at the passport office on the South Mall in Cork on September 14.

The detective said that when questioned he said he was living in Ireland and needed the passport to leave the country but refused to assist the officers in any way.

Det Garda Hanley said of the accused: “He held an Irish passport for 30 years but only recently obtained a PPS number.”

Judge Olann Kelleher remanded the man named as Philip Morris, aged 70, in custody until October 3 at Cork District Court.

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