Wednesday 13 November 2019

Court hears of solicitor's 'off the books transaction'

Barry Duggan

A MOTHER has admitting that a €7,500 bank draft - which she gave to her solicitor after he settled a civil claim for her - was an "off the books transaction".

The trial continues today of Denis McMahon (58), a former partner at a solicitors firm, who is appearing 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.

It is claimed that the offence took place at the offices of McMahon O’Brien Downes in Henry Street, Limerick.

Mr McMahon has pleaded not guilty to the offence and a jury of six men and six women are hearing evidence.

In the witness box today, Mrs Duggan said she was told by Mr McMahon in 2002 that she would receive €57,500 to settle a civil claim after she injured her back while working.

Her solicitor subsequently gave her a cheque for €65,000 and asked her to return to him a bank draft for €7,500.

The bank draft was made out to Ms Duggan and when she handed it to Mr McMahon, she said he asked her to sign the back of the draft.

She agreed with defence counsel, Brendan Grehan SC, that she realised the bank draft was "an off the books transaction" when her name went on it.

The court heard that Mr McMahon and his firm had previously represented Ms Duggan and her husband, Donal Duggan, in other legal proceedings.

Ms Duggan queried her settlement in 2005 and contacted the Law Society and gardai.

Subsequently she received €20,000 from Mr McMahon in exchange to drop all allegations against him.

The jury has also heard evidence from representatives of Aviva Insurance - formerly Hibernian Insurance - that the civil case with Ms Duggan was settled for €65,000 while McMahon O'Brien and Downes were paid €16,506 in costs.

The trial is continuing.

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