A WOMAN who claimed her solicitor deceived her of €7,500 denied she was attempting to get as much money as possible from him while his firm suffered bad publicity.
The trial of Denis McMahon (58), a former partner at McMahon O'Brien Downes, is continuing in Limerick Circuit Criminal Court before Judge Pauline Codd.
It is alleged that on or about November 27, 2002, Denis McMahon, with an address at Pembroke Road, Dublin, dishonestly and by deception induced Margaret Duggan to give him a €7,500 bank draft with the intention of making a gain for himself or others. Mr McMahon has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The jury heard that after Mrs Duggan received a cheque for €65,000 from Mr McMahon for the settlement of a civil claim in 2002, she gave him a bank draft for €7,500, which she believed was his legal fees.
The court heard that in 2005 – three years after giving Mr McMahon the bank draft – the defendant's firm was discussed on Joe Duffy's radio show.
There was a lot of adverse publicity in the national media and Mr McMahon had to employ an independent legal firm and PR firm and feared for 40 employees at his firm's Limerick and Dublin offices. Mrs Duggan said she heard about the issue on radio and made enquiries about the €7,500 bank draft. She wrote to the Law Society and said if Mr McMahon did not refund her €7,500 plus interest within 10 days, she wanted him struck off. She acknowledged that she went to the gardai when she did not receive satisfaction from the Law Society.
Subsequently in 2008, Mr McMahon began negotiations with Mrs Duggan through her nominated intermediary, Murt Ryan.
Defence counsel Brendan Grehan said Mr Ryan was looking for up to €50,000 from the solicitor for Mrs Duggan and wanted to get the "most possible money" from Mr McMahon.
Mrs Duggan denied this and said she only wanted her €7,500.
In a statement, Mr McMahon said "this matter was resolved to avoid reoccurrence of bad publicity" and he paid Mrs Duggan €20,000 as part of an agreement in which she would withdraw all allegations against him and his firm.
When questioned by gardai in 2008, Mr McMahon rejected all allegations and said she consented to settle her civil case in 2002 for €65,000. He had no recollection of the €7,500 bank draft.
The trial continues.