THE wife of late Console founder Paul Kelly is to stand trial accused of fraudulent trading and concealing crime proceeds of the suicide prevention charity.
Former chief executive Kelly took his own life on February 9, the night before he was to be charged with financial irregularities at Console.
His wife Patricia Kelly (58), a former director of Console, was brought before Judge Victor Blake at Dublin District Court.
She faces two counts of fraudulent trading by Console Suicide Bereavement, between December 2006 and July 2016. These offences were contrary to the 1963 and 2014 Companies Acts.
The third charge was for money laundering, in which it was alleged that from September 2010 until July 2016 she concealed or disguised the true nature, location, movement or ownership of properties of Console, which were proceeds of criminal conduct.
It follows an investigation by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) in conjunction with the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE).
The probe commenced following the 2016 RTE Investigates documentary programme – Broken Trust – about the charity, which has gone into liquidation.
Ms Kelly, now on social welfare, was ordered to appear again on April 17 next to be served with a book of evidence and returned for trial to a higher court.
Evidence of arrest, charge and caution was given by GNECB Detective Glenn MacKessy.
He told the court Ms Kelly was met by appointment at just after 12.30pm today at the Bridewell Garda station in Dublin.
She was charged, cautioned and handed copies of the charge sheets, he said, adding that Ms Kelly, “made no reply”.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has directed trial on indictment, in the Circuit Court.
There was no objection to bail in her own bond of €200 subject to several conditions being imposed.
Detective MacKessy asked the judge to include in the order terms compelling her to sign on three times a week at a Garda station, and to be contactable by mobile phone at all times.
Dressed in a navy winter coat and black trousers, Ms Kelly sat shaking at the side of the courtroom. Her solicitor James MacGuill described his client as nervous and told Judge Blake “she will be contesting the charges”.
Mr MacGuill objected to the signing on requirement and the need for her to carry a mobile phone.
He called those two terms onerous.
The solicitor said this case followed a prolonged investigation and it was likely that there would be a prolonged period before her trial proceeds.
Detective MacKessy agreed with the solicitor that the prosecution stemmed from an RTE broadcast in 2016 when the ODCE became involved.
Mr MacGuill argued that in the years since then, his client, knowing she was under investigation, had not tried to evade justice, and she was not a flight risk.
Her passport has expired and she would undertake not to apply for a new one, he said. There were two previous attempts to charge her, the court heard.
The solicitor said the last time Ms Kelly’s husband died by suicide the night before he was to be charged.
Before that she had to attend hospital with him, he added.
Mr MacGuill pointed out she still resided at the same address.
The High Court has frozen her assets and she did not have a car, the solicitor said.
In relation to the request to be contactable by mobile phone at all times, the solicitor submitted the worry was that the phone could lose its charge.
Ms Kelly was “by nature a nervous person” and she could find her self in breach of bail, Mr MacGuill argued.
It would be at least a year before the trial was reached, he also said.
Judge Victor Blake held she would have to sign on once a week at Naas Garda station, every Monday. Ms Kelly spoke once during the hearing to say “no” when asked if she preferred any day in particular.
The judge noted her passport expired in 2016 and he ordered her not to apply for a new one or other travel documents, and to remain in the jurisdiction for the duration of the proceedings.
He told her to provide a mobile phone number, but following the defence solicitor’s arguments on this point, he said gardai were not to barrage her with unnecessary calls, and they were to be restricted to once a week.
She must continue to reside at her address and have no contact with witnesses or any of the charity’s employees or directors, except her son Tim Kelly.
The fraud detective asked for a six-week adjournment for the DPP to complete a book of evidence.
A statement of her means was handed in to court as part of an application for legal aid. The solicitor said she was now “entirely reliant on social welfare as a result of the High Court freezing order”.
Deferring a decision on this request, Judge Blake noted that parts of the application form were not filled out.
He said that issue could be dealt with at Ms Kelly’s next hearing at the district court.