Saturday 24 March 2018

Garage owner accusing a garda of harassment described as a "sleibhin"

Garage owner Christopher Kelly leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday.
Garage owner Christopher Kelly leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday.

Sonya McClean

A garage owner who claims a garda harassed him has been described by a former employee as a “sleibhin” and “a thief at the end of the day”.

Leonard Clarke was giving evidence in the trial of Garda Paul Fogarty (27) who is accused of harassing Christopher Kelly after a dispute arose between them over repairs that Mr Kelly had carried out on the garda’s crashed Toyota Celica.

Mr Clarke told the jury that he met with Mr Fogarty on December 23, 2008 to return the Celica to him after being requested to do so by Mr Kelly.

The jury had previously heard that the Celica had been involved in a single vehicle collision on the M50 in January 2008.

Mr Clarke agreed with Breffni Gordon BL, defending, that the Celica was “in a disgraceful condition”.

“If it had been handed back to me in that condition, I would have gone mental,” the witness told counsel.

He told the jury that he only worked for Mr Kelly for a few weeks and stopped working for him when the man stopped paying him.

Mr Clarke agreed with counsel that he does not have a good impression of Mr Kelly and accepted that his former boss could be termed “a rogue”.

“Yes he is a thief at the end of the day,” Mr Clarke said. He later described Mr Kelly as “sly” and a “sleibhin”.

Gda Fogarty, who is based at Dundrum Garda Station, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to harassing Christopher Kelly and his father, Patrick, on dates between November 1, 2008 and May 31, 2009.

Mr Fogarty has also pleaded not guilty to dishonestly by deception inducing Quinn Direct to pay out an insurance claim of €10,254 at Littlepace, Clonee, Co Meath.

Mr Clarke told Melanie Greally BL, prosecuting, that the Celica “was not in good nick” when he met with Mr Fogarty to hand it back to him. He said there was no indicator on the side wings, no fog lights, no badge on the bonnet and it had Alfa Romeo wheels fitted which had been secured from a scrapyard.

The court had previously heard that Mr Fogarty had already paid €5,000 for the repairs to be carried out by Mr Kelly.

Mr Clarke said Mr Fogarty was unhappy with the condition of the car. “I cannot blame him to be honest,” Mr Clarke said.

He said the accused showed him his handcuffs and badge and told him he was a garda.

He said he agreed to bring the accused to Mr Kelly’s home but the man was not there. He then offered to lend him his own car until the Celica was fixed to his satisfaction.

Mr Clarke said he did this “out of fear” because Mr Fogarty had threatened to charge him with stealing a car and put him in prison over Christmas.

He said Mr Fogarty had his car then until March 28 after he had given it to the garda first on Christmas Eve.

Patricia Treacy, a former employee of Quinn Direct, said that she met with Mr Fogarty in April 2009 after he made an insurance claim for the Celica.

She said she asked the accused a number of standard questions and recorded his answers. She said Mr Fogarty told her that the car had been stolen from outside his grandmother’s house.

He said the Celica had never been involved in a crash and was in good condition.

Ms Treacy said that she initially got a pre-accident value for the Celica of €8,240 but Mr Fogarty was not happy with that. He said his car had been a higher spec and model to those Celicas the insurance company had compared them to.

She said the accused was happy with the revised figure of €10,254.15, he signed an acceptance form and the cheque was issued on April 15, 2009.

The trial continues before Judge Sarah Berkeley and a jury of five men and seven women.

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