Wednesday 19 September 2018

Former K Club catering manager claims he had nothing to do with 'forged emails', court hears

Peter Curran pictured at the Four Courts. Photo: Collins Courts
Peter Curran pictured at the Four Courts. Photo: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

A former catering manager at the K Club who alleges he was threatened at Punchestown Races has claimed before the High Court he had nothing to do with five “forged emails” sent in the name of Dr Michael Smurfit.

The emails to K Club Resort Superintendent, Gerry Byrne, purporting to be from Dr Smurfit in April 2015, referred to the alleged Punchestown incident and referred to Mr Byrne allegedly carrying out the instructions of Mr Smurfit.

The former K Club catering manager Peter Curran was being cross examined on the fourth day of his action against his former employer the K Club Ltd, Straffan, Co Kildare, Dr Smurfit and Mr Byrne.

Mr Curran has claimed on May 7, 2011 his way was blocked in the toilets at Punchestown and Mr Byrne allegedly said "Dr Smurfit has not forgotten the statements about him and the call girls . Dr Smurfit knows where to find you and this is not over."

The defendants have denied all claims.

Mr Curran on Tuesday denied he had anything to do with the emails sent to Gerry Byrne between April 24 and April 27, 2015.

“I  had nothing to do with this email saga. I would never go down that road. 

"I am here with clean hands. I did not send the emails. It was a sting operation,’ he told the court.

He also said: "It was a sting operation by Dr Michael Smurfit."

Mr Curran from Cahirciveen, Co Kerry was being cross examined by Dr Smurfit's counsel, Shane Murphy,  about the emails and the claim by Mr Curran that his IPad went missing the weekend of April 24 but was later found on the rim of his car wheel outside his home two days later.

Mr Justice Anthony Barr was also told as a result of a High Court application in May 2015  Eircom provided the IP address from which the emails were sent and the Eircom information connects the emails to Mr Curran's IP Address and router at his Kerry home.

Mr Murphy put it to Mr Curran  the emails were sourced from Mr Curran’s Kerry home.

Mr Curran replied “that is incorrect.”

He said it was a sting operation to undermine his legal team.

Counsel suggested  the purpose of the emails  was to try and make Mr Byrne make a  false  confession and that the only beneficiary of the situation was  Mr Curran himself  "if this scam worked out".

Counsel suggested they were not direct emails but to a web platform from Mr Curran's IP address . He said a report showed Mr Curran's broadband router has limited range.

Mr Curran said a car could park up the road within 20 to 25 metres of his home and work away.

Mr has claimed the alleged motive behind the May 2011 encounter with Mr Byrne at the races  was a reference to another case he had  settled in 2008 relating to his K Club employment in which he referred in a document to call girls being given  free use of the hotel facilities at the K Club.

Mr Curran was catering manager  between September  1997 and October 1998 when he claims he was forced to leave and later brought an unfair dismissal case which was settled in March 1999.

He later brought High Court  proceedings claiming alleged breach to his constitutional right to his good name and to earn a livelihood.

 During the run up to that case in replies to written questions and particulars, relating to alleged financial irregularities he had allegedly uncovered at the K Club, Mr Curran made reference to call girls, sometimes sourced abroad, were given free use of the hotel facilities at the K Club.

Those High Court proceedings were settled in 2008 and it is claimed  it was an implied term of the agreement Mr Curran would not be threatened, harassed or intimidated in any manner.

The case before Mr Justice Anthony Barr continues.

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