Wednesday 21 February 2018

Former Fine Gael councillor loses appeal against conviction for receiving corrupt payments

Former councillor Fred Forsey
Former councillor Fred Forsey

A former Fine Gael Councillor has lost his appeal against his conviction for receiving corrupt payments from a property developer.

Fred Forsey Jnr (45), of Coolagh Road, Abbeyside, Dungarvan Co Waterford, had pleaded not guilty to receiving €60,000, €10,000 and €10,000 in three corrupt payments from a property developer in 2006.

He was found guilty by a jury at Waterford Circuit Criminal Court and sentenced to six years imprisonment with the final two suspended by Judge Gerard Griffin on June 27 2012.

In a ruling this morning the Court of Appeal dismissed all grounds of his appeal against his conviction.

Mr Forsey, who had served the sentence before the appeal came on, was present at the Four Courts this morning when the judgment was delivered.

Forsey's appeal was brought on grounds including that the judge presiding over his trial before the Circuit Court gave "a very serious misdirection" to the jury on how to deal with the presumption of corruption.

Forsey's lawyers argued the trial judge incorrectly instructed the jury that Forsey had to discharge the reverse burden on the balance of probabilities.

It was further submitted that the trial judge erred in allowing the case to proceed when his client, as a Dungarvan Town Councillor was incapable of granting planning permission as part of his office or position.

The Director of Public Prosecutions had opposed the appeal.

In what was a lengthy and detailed judgment The President of the Court of Appeal Mr Justice Seán Ryan, who sat with Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice George Birmingham, said the court was satisfied to dismiss Forsey's appeal.

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