Solicitor home after extradition battle
Published 14/04/2013 | 05:00
One of the longest-running sagas in Irish extradition history came to an end last Friday when former Dublin solicitor Vincent O'Donoghue arrived in Cloverhill Prison after returning from Australia.
Mr O'Donoghue had been fighting extradition for 11 years – the last five from Hakea Prison in Western Australia after the authorities revoked his bail.
Before leaving prison in Australia he told the Sunday Independent: "I am coming home to face charges relating to obtaining £35,000 by false pretences. This case has cost the Irish and Australian authorities at least a million, but for some strange reason they decided to proceed with this, even though gardai interviewed me about this matter before I emigrated and pressed no charges."
The Dublin solicitor, who once lived in Archbishop John Charles McQuaid's 'palace' in Killiney, was involved in property transactions after he became a bankrupt.
He emigrated with his wife Ann Marie and one child to Australia and the couple later had three more children before he was sent to prison. They have since separated.
"I am bitterly disappointed to be leaving the kids behind, and this will be a real impediment to my re-entry to Australia," he said last Wednesday, hours before gardai arrived at the prison to escort him back to Dublin.
"I am looking forward to proving my innocence over these charges," he said. "The courts have already established that I didn't flee justice and I am looking forward to clearing up this matter, I am not guilty of anything."
Mr O'Donoghue was originally questioned at Mountjoy garda station in relation to property transactions on August 2, 2001. He was released and gardai had no problem when he emigrated to Australia the following year.
On June 28, 2002, a warrant was issued for his arrest in relation to a complaint against him first reported to the gardai in 1998 and the extradition proceedings began shortly afterwards.
Part of Mr O'Donoghue's defence was adopted by former Nazi Charles Zentai, who was attempting to prevent his extradition to Hungary to face allegations by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre that he had committed murder in 1944.