Tuesday 25 October 2016

Former financial controller accused of stealing €290,000 from south Dublin law firm

By Andrew Phelan

Published 19/05/2015 | 16:39

A FORMER financial controller at a south Dublin law firm has been refused bail after being charged with stealing €290,000 from the company.

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Donna Magee (45) was remanded in custody for the preparation of a book of evidence as she faces trial on 29 counts of theft at the firm.

She appeared in Dublin District Court on foot of European Arrest Warrants following her extradition from Northern Ireland.

Ms Magee met PSNI officers on Friday before her arrest in Co Louth by detectives from the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation.

Today, Judge Michael Walsh denied her bail following objections by gardai.

Ms Magee, with an address at Hollyfield, Dungannon, Co. Tyrone is charged with the theft of varying sums of money totalling €290,000 from O'Mara Geraghty McCourt Solicitors at Northumberland Road, in Ballsbridge, in Dublin 4.

The offences are alleged to have occurred in 2008 and 2009.

Det Garda Sean O'Riordan of the GBFI told Judge Walsh the accused had been in a position of trust at the firm, where he was in charge of accounts. He said he was objecting to bail because Ms Magee had no ties to this jurisdiction.

Defence Barrister Maddie Grant said the accused had resided in Northern Ireland all her life and had very strong ties to the Co Tyrone area.

She had complied with the arrest warrant process, had £600 to offer as cash bail and a relative was in court to stand as an independent surety in the sum of €5,000, Ms Grant said.

Ms Magee’s daughter was in school and she was anxious to be released to care for her. The defendant also had medical appointments that were “essential” for her to attend, Ms Grant continued.

She accepted the charges were serious but continued to enjoy a presumption of innocence.

"The court heard around €180,000 of the money involved had already been recovered."

Ms Grant said it would not be unusual for someone to reside in Northern Ireland and sign on over the border. Ms Magee was prepared to abide by bail conditions.

There was no suggestion she evaded justice in the time it had taken to bring the case to court - there were “other matters being dealt with.”

“She was aware that these matters were in the pipeline and she made no attempt to leave Northern Ireland,” Ms Grant said.

Judge Walsh remanded the accused in custody for a week.

Previously, the court heard she made no reply to each charge after caution.

The DPP has directed trial on indictment. Ms McGee has not yet indicated how she intends to plead to the charges.

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