Monday 19 March 2018

€400,000 award woman says abuser trying to get out of paying

Tim Healy

A WOMAN awarded €400,000 a year ago after a judge found she was sexually abused by her Irish dancing teacher has challenged the transfer of property by him into his wife's name.

Dana Doherty (42) claims the transfer of the ownership of two properties by Michael Quigley to his wife Alice was an attempt to stop her getting the money.

The High Court heard today she has not received any of the money yet because there is a stay on the award pending an appeal by Mr Quigley to the Supreme Court.

Ms Doherty, a national schoolteacher, is seeking a High Court order setting aside the transfers which took place eight and 12 years ago.

She disputes his claim he is a man of no means because he was living on a pension.

She says he got a substantial payment when he took voluntary redundancy as a printer with the Derry Journal in the late 1990s.

He also made good money from his dancing classes which took place around four days a week in Derry and Letterkenny, she claims.

Mr Quigley (68) argues she had no right to challenge the transfer which was done in order to get a loan to extend the family home because he was retired and could not get a loan in his name.

He says it was also done before Ms Doherty brought the case which resulted in the €400,000 award.

He also argues Ms Doherty is not a creditor of Mr Quigley and must be in order to avail of the fraudulent conveyance law under which her challenge is brought.

The properties are the family home at Barnhill Park, Letterkenny, Donegal, and a one-third acre site at Meenagowan, also in Letterkenny.

The case opened today before Mr Justice Paul Gilligan but was later adjourned until next December on consent of the parties to allow the Mr Quigley seek an early hearing of his appeal in the Supreme Court.

In her action over the sexual abuse which was heard last year, Ms Doherty said his assaults on her began at 12 years of age and increased in seriousness as she got older.

They occurred over a number of years, beginning in 1989, at the dance classes as well as when she was being driven home from classes by him.

On one occasion, he abused her when she was sleeping in his family home while there was another young girl in the bed with her, she said.

Mr Quigley denied all her allegations claiming they were made up to get back at him because she was in love with him and he had spurned a suggestion that he leave his wife and live with her.

He was charged with indecent assault and underwent two trials in which juries were unable to reach verdicts before the DPP decided not to pursue the matter any further and entered a "nolle prosequi" in the case.

She then brought her action for damages claiming he had taken her childhood from her.

In July last year, Mr Justice Sean Ryan said the proposition by Mr Quigley that she had concocted the allegations to get back at him because he had spurned her was wholly unconvincing and did not accord with logic or with her behaviour.

By contrast with her account and evidence given by a number of witnesses for her, including two other women who accused him of indecent behaviour, the man's evidence was "inconsistent and unconvincing," the judge said.

He failed to refute the weight of evidence showing him to be an abuser of children, the judge said.

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