THE crooked brother-in-law of former DUP Assembly speaker Willie Hay is staring at a prison sentence tomorrow after he admitted a catalogue of fraud charges amounting to almost £9,000.
Disgraced William ‘Bill’ Irwin, from Duncastle Road Newbuildings, faced a total of 23 charges when he faced Derry Magistrates’ Court today in February.
A district judge will pass sentence tomorrow, Friday, April 1, on him and shamed Irwin could go to jail.
The serious offences are regarded as a “breach of trust” because of his position he held at the time in the DUP office in Derry and was expected to safeguard its interests against fraud, theft and embezzlement.
The 23 separate charges relate to dates between March 2009 until February 2014.
The former DUP councillor is accused of making a false claim to the Northern Ireland Assembly for payment towards heating oil expenditure.
The total amount involved in the scam was £8,960.
The court was told in February that he had heating oil delivered to his home and was invoicing it through the DUP constituency office of Willie Hay at Ebrington Terrace in Derry.
A prosecution lawyer said it was therefore being paid out of the public purse through the Assembly.
A defence barrister said his client was instructed to enter a plea of guilty in relation to all the charges.
Irwin arrived and left the Bishops Street Courthouse alone in February.
During the period of the offences, Irwin was a constituency office worker in the DUP’s main Waterside office.
He had previously represented the party on Derry City Council from 1993 until 1997.
The defendant will be sentenced tomorrow, Friday, April 1, following the preparation of a pre-sentence report.
The charges against crooked Irwin arose following a BBC NI Spotlight investigation by award winning reporter Mandy Macauley into the fraudulent misuse of expenses by MLAs.
She discovered that in one year £4,355 had been claimed for home heating oil for Mr Hay’s constituency office.
The probe also discovered that the cost of heating Mr Hay’s officer had increased from £265 over a ten-year period.
As soon as Spotlight raised the issue with Mr Hay, Bill Irwin was immediately suspended and the PSNI informed.
Tomorrow, Irwin who is married to Dianne, faces a maximum jail term of six months imprisonment on each charge as he is being sentenced in the magistrates’ court.
The district judge will decide whether the sentence imposed on each charge will run concurrently or consecutively to each other.Tags: