Saturday 27 December 2014

Thomas Byrne in court for legal aid application

Conor Gallagher

Published 24/02/2014 | 15:36

FORMER solicitor Thomas Byrne has appeared in court for a legal aid application in connection with his trial for stealing €52m from banks and defrauding 13 clients out of their houses or money.

Mr Byrne (47) received legal aid for the duration of his 27 day long trial which was the largest theft case in the history of the State. He was convicted and sentenced to 16 years with four suspended last December.

Today his legal team applied to Judge Patrick McCartan for an additional day’s legal aid to cover a hearing in the High Court on October 2, 2013.

The High Court hearing was an application by the DPP to obtain a statement given to the Commerical Court ahead of Mr Byrne’s criminal trial. During the application Byrne’s legal team objected to the statement being handed over.

Byrne appeared in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court this morning dressed in the same suit and checkered winter coat he was convicted in.

Judge McCartan greeted him, and said there was no need for him to be in court for the brief hearing.

“But it’s good to see you,” Judge McCartan added as Mr Byrne smiled in response.

Counsel for Mr Byrne, Gerardine Small BL, asked the court for extra legal aid to cover the defence of the October application. The DPP raised no objection and said it was matter for the court.

Judge McCartan joked: “So you want to be paid for obstructing the course of justice?” before granting the request.

Mr Byrne of Mountjoy Square, Dublin was accused of theft and fraud offences totalling €51.8 million.  The charges alleged Byrne transferred clients’ homes into his name and then used them as collateral for property loans. He was also accused of using invalid collateral to fraudulently borrow millions from six financial institutions.

He had pleaded not guilty to 50 counts of theft, forgery, using forged documents and deception between 2004 and 2007.

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