Friday 26 December 2014

Woman took €20,000 then dropped case, court hears

Barry Duggan

Published 06/02/2013 | 04:00

A WOMAN withdrew a complaint against a senior partner in a solicitors' firm after receiving €20,000, a court has heard.

Denis McMahon (58), a former partner in McMahon O'Brien Downes solicitors, appeared at Limerick Circuit Criminal Court.

It is alleged that on or about November 27, 2002, Mr McMahon, of Pembroke Road, Dublin, dishonestly and by deception induced Margaret Duggan to give him a €7,500 bank draft at the offices of McMahon O'Brien Downes in Henry Street, Limerick with the intention of making a gain for himself or others.

Mr McMahon has pleaded not guilty.

Outlining the case for the prosecution, Sean Gillane said an insurance company settled a civil claim with Mrs Duggan for €65,000 – not the €57,500 that she received – and that it separately paid €16,506 to Mr McMahon to cover costs.

Mrs Duggan told the court she went to Mr McMahon in 2001 to initiate a civil claim after injuring her back while working with a cleaning firm.

In October 2002, Mr McMahon told her the insurer was "anxious to settle". She said a final fee of €57,500 was agreed.

The following month, Mr McMahon presented her with a cheque from Hibernian General Insurance for €65,000 and asked her to return to him a bank draft for €7,500. She assumed that his payment came from the cheque for €65,000.

In 2005, Mrs Duggan wrote to Mr McMahon and sought clarification on how much the civil claim had been settled on and what his costs were.

Solicitor

After his response, she contacted the Law Society, then complained to gardai in 2006.

However, in 2008, after receiving a bank draft for €20,000, Mrs Duggan signed a 'discharge form', which acknowledged receipt of the €20,000 and withdrew all allegations.

She contacted gardai in 2008, requesting them to discontinue their investigations as she was withdrawing all allegations.

The trial continues today.

Irish Independent

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