independent

Friday 18 April 2014

GP acquitted of deception charges against patients

A GP has praised a judge for making "the proper decision" after he was dramatically acquitted of obtaining money by deception from families of two terminally ill cancer patients.

After an eight-day trial, Judge Ray Fullam directed that the jury find Paschal Carmody (65) not guilty on all nine charges of obtaining €16,554 from the families of Co Wexford schoolboy Conor O'Sullivan (15) and Kilkenny man John Sheridan (57) in 2001-02 at the East Clinic in Killaloe, Co Clare.

The judge, who described it as a very difficult case involving a lot of sadness for a lot of people, said the evidence established there was no intent to deceive or defraud on the part of Dr Carmody.

Outside Ennis Circuit Court, Dr Carmody said that Judge Fullam had made "the proper decision based on the evidence".

The O'Sullivan and Sheridan families were not in court for yesterday's verdict. However, last night Conor's mother Christina O'Sullivan said: "We are disappointed with the outcome but we are glad that it is over . . . Now we can move on."

The acquittal brings to an end a long legal saga including three trials.

In the first trial, in July 2008, a jury found Dr Carmody not guilty on six deception charges and couldn't reach a verdict on the remaining 11. He was then re-tried concerning the nine charges relating to obtaining monies by deception from the families of Conor O'Sullivan and John Sheridan in April 2011.

However, that trial collapsed after two national newspapers published matters discussed in court in the absence of the jury.

Satisfied

The costs of that trial totalled €480,000 and the 'Irish Times' and the 'Irish Examiner' were ordered by Judge Donagh McDonagh to pay the costs, including the DPP's €100,000 costs and €360,000 for Dr Carmody's legal team. The order is currently under appeal to the High Court.

In yesterday's case, Judge Fullam made his ruling following an application in the absence of the jury by counsel for Mr Carmody, Tom Creed SC, to dismiss the charges at the end of the prosecution's evidence.

Judge Fullam excused the jury from jury duty for five years.

In his formal ruling acquitting Dr Carmody, Judge Fullam said: "I am satisfied, based particularly on the evidence of Mr Colin Hopper that there is no evidence about an intent to defraud or deceive on the part of Dr Carmody."

UK-based expert witness on behalf of the prosecution, Colin Hopper, told the trial that Dr Carmody struck him as "a caring physician who was interested in doing good for his patients".

In the case, Dr Carmody – who had 120 cancer patients under his care – denied ever telling Master O'Sullivan and Mr Sheridan that he would cure their cancer.

Both underwent PDT treatment at Dr Carmody's clinic. Conor O'Sullivan had a rare bone cancer, Ewings Sarcoma, while Mr Sheridan suffered from liver cancer. Both died in November 2002.

Irish Independent

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