Major retail chain spared ban on selling cigarettes over sale to minor

File photo.

Retail chain Circle K has been spared a conviction and a temporary ban on selling tobacco products after a child managed to buy cigarettes in one of their shops.

The firm which has more than 100 outlets in Ireland, pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court to a charge under the Public Health (Tobacco) Act, 2002 for selling a packet of cigarettes to a minor.

Judge Anthony Halpin noted the firm had complied with his order made in January to pay €1000 in legal costs and give €1000 to the Little Flower Penny Dinners charity.

He struck the case out.

HSE environmental health officer Michael O’Rourke had told Judge Halpin earlier that on February 15 last year he entered the Circle K (formerly Topaz) shop at Clontarf Road.

A teenage girl, acting as a test purchaser, also came into the shop and bought a pack of 20 John Player Blue.

The court heard the shop assistant did not ask for ID from the girl who was under the age of 18 years.

A photo of the girl was furnished to the judge and the environmental health officer said that it showed her as she appeared when she went into the shop.

The firm did not have previous convictions and the company secretary came to court.

She had said her firm was remorseful and has trained staff in their 160 outlets about the sale of cigarettes, but this incident had been down to human error.

The offence can result in a conviction with a fine of up to €5,000 and a possible three-month suspension of a tobacco licence.

Halpin accepted the company took it very seriously and it occurred in a busy commercial environment. He had accepted it was a result of human error.

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