independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Staff member ‘stole or tried to steal €170,000 from HSE’

A FORMER Health Service Executive (HSE) administrator was charged with the theft and attempted theft of over €170,000 from the health agency and two of its suppliers.

David Cooper (52) of Apt 6, 7 Southern Road, Cork appeared before the District Court on 12 charges of theft and attempted theft.

Cooper, who worked as a HSE administrator dealing with maintenance matters, faces a total of 12 counts which the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has ruled be dealt with on indictment before the Circuit Criminal Court.

He is charged with six counts of theft involving a total of €55,450 from the HSE between June 6 and June 27 2012; four counts of attempted theft between June 29 and July 6 2012 involving €107,314 and two counts of theft from Pat Hennerty Ltd and Forest Print Ltd involving €5,811 and €1,804 respectively over the same period.

The 12 counts involve a total of €170,379.

Judge Con O’Leary heard that Cooper made no reply when each of the charges were put to him after arrest and caution at Gurranabraher Garda Station.

He granted Cooper free legal aid after hearing that he was now dependent on disability benefit and had no other source of income or major property assets.

He no longer works for the HSE.

He had previously been based at St Mary’s Hospital, Cork.

Judge O’Leary adjourned the matter for three weeks to February 5 next after hearing from Inspector Mary King that the book of evidence in the case is not yet ready.

The defendant did not speak during the brief hearing except to ask, through his solicitor Frank Buttimer, whether the judge could make an order to direct that there be no publicity in relation to the case.

Judge O’Leary said he had no such power under the Constitution which states that such matters be dealt with in public.

Gardai indicated that they had no objection to the defendant being remanded on bail.

Judge O’Leary remanded Cooper on bail in his own bond of €5,000 and directed that he have no contact, either direct of indirect, with any HSE administration officials.

Gardai said they hope to have the book of evidence finalised shortly.

Mr Cooper did not speak to the media as he left the courthouse on Angelsea Street.

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