A SECRETARY at one of the country's top colleges walked free from court today after being cleared by a judge of being involved in a €2k deception against the Department of Education.
Edel Byron (40) was found not guilty by the direction of the Judge Raymond Fullam at Sligo Circuit Court.
Retired Summerhill College supervisor John Fintan Brett, from Cleveragh Road, Sligo, had already pleaded guilty to count of deception using a Department of Education online expenses which netted him more than €24k.
Former college secretary Ms Byron, from Ashbrook, Collooney, had contested the same charge before a jury.
But after extensive legal argument, Judge Fullam dismissed the case against Ms Byron.
Her legal team had argued throughout the case that Ms Byron was acting under the direction of the then principal Michael Murphy, had not gained financially from inputting claims and had not been involved in any deception.
In his ruling, Judge Fullam said he accepted the evidence of a Department of Education witness who said he believed Ms Byron was acting on instruction from the then principal and that the Department was not at a loss as a result of claims she submitted on behalf of Brett and Mr Murphy.
Ms Byron wept when she was told she was free to go. Her solicitor Laura Spellman said her client wanted to now move on with her life “after this very traumatic experience.”