Tuesday 27 September 2016

Developer avoids jail for wasting Garda time with false kidnap claim

Ann Healy

Published 13/04/2016 | 02:30

Kevin McGeever at Galway Circuit Court. Photo: Andrew Downes
Kevin McGeever at Galway Circuit Court. Photo: Andrew Downes

Former property developer Kevin McGeever has been given a suspended two-year sentence for wasting Garda time by making false reports about being kidnapped at gunpoint three years ago, in a bid to dodge his creditors.

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Mr McGeever (71), with a former address at 'Nirvana' Ballywinna, Craughwell, Co Galway, and more recently in Clontarf, Dublin, entered the guilty plea moments before this trial was due to begin at Galway Circuit Criminal Court yesterday.

In a barely audible voice, McGeever (right) replied "guilty" to a single charge of giving false information to gardaí on dates between January 29 and February 28, 2013, about allegations of false imprisonment and threats to harm, thereby causing Garda time to be wasted.

The facts in a second charge of giving false information, where he told gardaí he had been falsely imprisoned, assaulted and threatened with harm during the same six-week period, were also admitted.

The court was told McGeever fabricated the entire story in a bid to shake off both Irish and international creditors who lost vast sums of money in failed investments he had undertaken on their behalf in Dubai, following the economic crash in 2008.

Detective John Keating gave evidence that McGeever was found lying on the side of the road by a couple near Ballinamore, Co Leitrim at 9.40pm on January 29, 2013.

He told the couple he had been dumped on the side of the road and they brought him to the local garda station.

McGeever told gardaí he had been abducted at gunpoint in Craughwell on May 27, 2012.

He subsequently gave eight statements to gardaí alleging he had been kidnapped, assaulted and ill-treated.

Det Keating said McGeever was consistent in all his statements that he had been abducted at gunpoint from his home in Craughwell and held six metres underground in a steel container for eight months, with no lighting, heating or sanitary facilities.

He said a six-week Garda investigation got under way, involving 19 gardaí. A total of 3,038 man-hours, costing the taxpayer €86,851, in Garda travel expenses and subsistence allowances, was spent on the investigation, he said.

The court heard McGeever later admitted that he had made up the story, saying: "I'm very relieved to get this off my chest."

Judge Rory McCabe said the gardaí had enough to do without chasing false trails and the cost of the investigation had to be paid by the taxpayer.

He said the offence would ordinarily merit a custodial sentence.

However, the judge added: "If I send him to prison, the taxpayer will have to pay for his upkeep; to house, clothe and feed him, so I will suspend the sentence for five years."

Irish Independent

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