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Ex-solicitor to face trial in €52m mortgages case

STRUCK-OFF solicitor Thomas Byrne has been sent forward for trial accused of stealing approximately €52m in connection with mortgages taken out on more than 20 properties.

Yesterday the 45-year-old made his third appearance at Dublin District Court.

Mr Byrne, of Walkinstown Road, Dublin 12, was served with a four-volume book of evidence by Detective Sergeant Paschal Walsh of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation.

Mr Byrne, who formerly had a solicitor's practice in Walkinstown, faces 52 charges.

He did not indicate how he would plead.

Judge Denis McLoughlin notified him at the brief hearing yesterday that if he planned to use an alibi as part of his defence, he must notify the State within 14 days.

Mr Byrne did not address the court but nodded, indicating that he understood. Defence counsel Sean O Siothchain asked Judge McLoughlin to grant legal aid. "Significant sums are involved, Mr Byrne would be at risk," Mr O Siothchain said.

Solicitor Catherine Irvine, for the State, told Judge McLoughlin that the DPP had consented to Mr Byrne being sent forward for trial.

Judge Denis McLoughlin ordered his return for trial to the present term of the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Mr Byrne was remanded on bail.

In December, he had initially been charged with dishonestly appropriating the sum of €1,887,415 entrusted to him for the purpose of discharging a loan with Permanent TSB.

He was also accused of stealing €198,742 which had been given to him for the purpose of paying stamp duty in the purchase of an apartment building in Dublin 1.

At his next court appearance on February 3, 50 more charges were brought against him.

Irish Independent