Friday 21 July 2017

Perrin quits as judge ahead of her sentencing

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

THE first judge in the history of the State to be convicted of a serious criminal offence has resigned just ahead of her sentencing hearing.

District Court judge Heather Perrin, who faces up to five years in prison after being convicted of attempting to deceive an elderly friend and client out of half of his €1m estate, resigned less than 48 hours before she is to be sentenced.

A solicitor who ran a small practice in north Dublin, Perrin was appointed to the District Court in 2009 just a month after tricking octogenarian Thomas Davis into leaving vast sums of money to her two children.

She maintained her innocence throughout her seven-day trial at Dublin's Circuit Criminal Court.

The former director of the Girls Brigade International Council, the Christian organisation for young girls, resigned with immediate effect last night, sparing the Government the prospect of impeachment proceedings.

It is not known what effect the resignation of Perrin, who has been on long-term sick leave from the bench, will have on her sentencing which will take place tomorrow morning.

Perrin earned €147,961 a year as a District Court judge, although new entrants receive €123,881 following the referendum to reduce judges' pay and pensions.

Perrin has accrued some pension rights despite her brief tenure.

The 60-year-old will be entitled to a modest pension based on her three years' service in five years' time, when she reaches pensionable age.

The pension will not exceed 3/80ths of her overall salary.

Earlier this month Perrin was found guilty by a unanimous jury of deceiving Mr Davis – whose wife Ada the judge knew through the Irish Girls brigade – into bequeathing half of his €1m estate to her two children.

Her defence team suggested that Mr Davis suffered memory problems and had somehow "forgotten" leaving half his estate to the Perrin children.

In just under four hours, the jury decided that the octogenarian – who left €2,000 each in his will for Perrin's children after the discovery that he had been tricked – was not suffering memory loss.

Separate charges of deception relating to the will of Mr Davis's wife, Ada, were dropped before Perrin's trial because Mrs Davis's mental state had declined to the point where she was unable to give evidence.

Perrin, of Lambay Court, Malahide, Dublin, had pleaded not guilty to deceptively inducing Mr Davis to bequeath half of his estate to Sybil and Adam Perrin at her office on Fairview Strand on January 22, 2009.

Prosecutor Dominic McGinn said Perrin fought the case using "lies, half-truths and deceptions".

Last night, a brief statement from the Courts Service said that Judge Heather Perrin offered her immediate resignation from the District Court bench.

Irish Independent

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