Thursday 14 December 2017

Bank tried to scapegoat employee over €7.6m tiger kidnapping, court told

Shane Travers
Shane Travers

A JUNIOR bank official claims his employer attempted to scapegoat him over a €7.6m "Tiger Kidnapping" in which his girlfriend and members of her family were held hostage to make him hand over the money to criminals, the High Court heard.

In February 2009, Shane Travers (30) was forced to hand over four bags containing the cash from Bank of Ireland, College Green, Dublin, before his then girlfriend, her nephew and the girlfriend's mother were released by armed and masked men. 

Mr Travers was subsequently arrested and questioned for 48 hours but never charged and, he says, gardai do not consider him a suspect.

Mr Travers, Ardilaun, Portmarnock, Co Dublin, is suing Bank of Ireland (BoI) claiming, among other things, he was not adequately trained to deal with situations like that, that he has suffered stress, anxiety and depression as a result.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan, who was told by Mr Travers counsel it was not known whether anyone "had been made amenable" for the crime, was asked Thursday by both sides for orders relating to the release of documentation in advance of the hearing of the case.

Oisin Quinn SC, for Mr Travers, said they were seeking documents generated by the bank relating to what had been a "spurious" attempt to dismiss him but which his lawyers successfully fought.  

The bank had claimed he was in breach of its code by not informing him he had been arrested by gardai investigating the crime, despite the fact that there was widespread media reportage of it, counsel said.

"We believe they tried to scapegoat Mr Travers", he said.  A decision had been taken at a very high level to "get rid of him" based on the spurious claim that he had not informed the bank, he said.

Mr Justice Noonan said he would not grant that category of discovery sought by the Travers side as it would be an unreasonably oppressive requirement on the bank.

The judge did grant the bank's application for discovery of his up-to-date medical records including notes taken by his doctors which  are highly relevant to his claim that his stress and depression was caused by the robbery.  The court heard he has been receiving counselling and his lawyer argued the confidential nature of this should not be disclosed.

The judge refused discovery in relation to other material which the bank said was relevant to Mr Travers claim that the bank had failed to support him after the robbery by failing to issue a public statement that he was not a suspect and that it had no basis to suspect him.  

Declan McGrath SC, for the bank, told the court while Mr Travers said he had been informed by gardai he was not a suspect, that was not accepted by BoI.

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