A SOLICITOR has been found not guilty of deceiving a former client of €7,500.
Judge Pauline Codd directed a jury at Limerick Circuit Criminal Court to find Denis McMahon (58) not guilty after his defence team made a successful application to prevent a criminal trial from continuing.
After hearing the lengthy application from defence counsel Brendan Grehan on the third day of the trial yesterday, the judge said she was satisfied that the defendant suffered "a grave prejudice".
She then directed the jury to return a not guilty verdict.
It had been alleged by the prosecution that on or about November 27, 2002, Denis McMahon – with an address at Pembroke Road, Dublin – dishonestly persuaded Margaret Duggan to give him a €7,500 bank draft.
It was claimed that the offence took place at the offices of McMahon O'Brien Downes in Henry Street, Limerick, where the defendant was a senior partner.
The jury had heard that Mrs Duggan hired Mr McMahon to deal with a personal injury claim.
She contended that in 2002, Mr McMahon said a sum of €57,500 had been agreed as part of a civil settlement.
Throughout the trial, Mrs Duggan said she only dealt with her solicitor and was adamant that she had no discussions with Seamus McKenna – a barrister assigned to represent her during the civil case.
Mr Grehan argued that the agreed civil settlement was €65,000 and that Mr McKenna had negotiated the settlement with Mrs Duggan.
Mr McKenna – since deceased – was not interviewed by gardai.
Judge Codd said the unavailability of Mr McKenna or his testimony caused such prejudice to the defence that Mr McMahon "is at risk of an unfair trial".