Wednesday 14 November 2018

Dublin couple fail in legal aid claim as they deny house, apartment and cash are proceeds of crime

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Stock picture

Tim Healy

A High Court judge has dismissed a Dublin couple's application for legal aid in their challenge against the Criminal Asset Bureau's claim that a house, an apartment in Bulgaria and approximately in €72,000 in cash found at their home are the proceeds of crime.

In November 2016 CAB secured freezing orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act against Jason Boyle and his parents Laurence and Rosaleen Boyle in respect of a three bedroom house located at Casement Drive, Finglas worth approximately €250,000, the apartment at Royal Dreams, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria and the cash.

The cash was found in plastic wrapping during a search conducted by the Gardai of Mr Laurence Boyle and his wife's home at Coolebrook Cottages, Finglas West, Dublin.

The court heard the money had been buried in the garden of another property that had been previously owned by the couple before they moved it to their current home.

The Boyles all deny CAB's claim that the properties and cash are the proceeds of crime.

In an application to the High Court, Mr Laurence and Mrs Boyle sought admission to the ad-hoc legal aid scheme which if successful would mean that their costs to opposing CAB's claims in respect of the property would be paid for by the state.

The couple claimed they cannot afford to retain lawyers to contest the action.

In a sworn statement to the court, Mr Boyle (aged 58) said in relation to the cash seized that it is his property and represents savings from his business over a ten year period.

He said that he and his wife jointly own the properties at Casement Drive, where the couple's son Jason resides, and the apartment in Bulgaria. 

He said that the money was concealed in the manner due to his mistrust of banks and because he did not want one of his sons, Laurence Jnr, who he said has a drug problem, to get it.

He said he had a wheelie bin cleaning business which he wound down in 2010.

He had been working as a casual trade for two days a week and earns €150 a week.

He said that owes revenue some €6000 and has a credit union debt of €3000.

He said the apartment was acquired from an associate in exchange for €7000 plus a jeep.

He also said that renovations on their current home and the house the subject of the CAB application were paid for from the proceeds of sale from their former home and from their savings

The works he claimed were carried out by a friend and the materials were obtained from websites such as done deal.ie.

Mrs Boyle (aged 56) said in her sworn statement that she is not working. She said that the couple sold their previous home and purchased the current home and the property at Casement Drive with proceeds of their old home and monies loaned to them by family members. 

The application was opposed by CAB represented by Michael Binchy BL.

Counsel told the court that Cab's view was that "no proper detailed explanation of how the funds were generated had been given to the court by the couple."

The couple's claims where the monies originate from"doesn't stack up counsel" added.

Counsel said Mr Boyle claimed ownership of €72,500 but did not see it fit to put any of that to the revenue debt.

Counsel said that in addition to the properties they own, which are all unincumbered, it was claimed that €40,000 have been spent by the couple on renovations to their properties. 

Counsel said that the renovations included the building of an extension on one of the properties, as well as the installation of "a jacuzzi, and a surround sound system."   

In her ruling, Ms Justice Carmel Stewart dismissed the couple's application. There was "a lot of anomalies and a lack of explanations" in regards to the assets, the Judge said.

From the evidence put before the court the Judge, she was not satisfied to admit the couple to the legal aid scheme.

The matter was adjourned to a date in November.

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