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Wednesday 17 September 2014

Secretary denies Perrin told her what to say when quizzed on will

Conor Gallagher

Published 17/11/2012 | 05:00

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THE former secretary of a District Court judge accused of attempting to deceive her friend out of half his estate has denied being told what to say by the accused.

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Heather Perrin (60) is accused of tricking Thomas Davis into bequeathing half his €1m estate to her two children while he was a client of her solicitor's firm.

Yesterday, Ms Perrin's defence team called Pauline Ball as a witness. She worked as a legal secretary for the accused for eight years.

Ms Ball insisted that Ms Perrin did read over the will to Mr Davis before he signed it, including the part bequeathing half his estate to her children. She said she has "absolutely no doubt" all the will was read out.

Mr Davis previously gave evidence that the will was never read over to him and that he was unaware the Perrin children were such large beneficiaries until almost a year later. He also said he did not think Ms Ball was in the room at the time.

Ms Perrin of Lambay Court, Malahide, Co Dublin, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court 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.

Prosecuting counsel Dominic McGinn asked Ms Ball about her two garda interviews, which were a year apart. In the first interview, she said she drafted "the bones" of Mr Davis's will in February 2009. The court heard previously that the will was signed on January 22, 2009. In Ms Ball's second interview, she said she drafted it "a few weeks" before the date it was signed.

Mr McGinn asked how her memory of the events seemed to be improving and suggested it was because "Ms Perrin told you what to say and you've learned your story better".

The witness denied this.

Ms Ball agreed that after gardai contacted her about the allegations, she went to see Ms Perrin's solicitor, Sean Sexton. She initially denied that Ms Perrin had advised her to speak to Mr Sexton but after further questioning agreed it was the accused's suggestion.

Ms Ball said she spoke to Mr Sexton because she wanted to have someone with her when she spoke to gardai because of the accused's position as a judge. She said in the end she was joined by another solicitor who was her then employer.

Signed

Ms Ball said that when the will was been signed, she commented "lucky children" when Ms Perrin pointed out the generosity of the Davises. She said Mrs Davis then said: "Sure they're nearly our children as well."

Ms Ball agreed with Mr McGinn that the will required two independent signatures to be valid but that she was the only one there eligible to sign it. She said she later got the accused's husband, Mr Perrin, to sign it because he happened to be around the office.

She claimed that when he signed it he did not know what was in the will or that it concerned Thomas Davis.

The jury will hear closing speeches on Monday before Judge Mary Ellen Ring.

Irish Independent

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