Thursday 23 November 2017

Garda on trial for insurance fraud and harassment

Garda Paul Fogarty leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
Garda Paul Fogarty leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

A garda has gone on trial accused of deceiving an insurance company and harassing a car dealer and his father.

Garda Paul Fogarty (27), based at Dundrum Garda Station, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to dishonestly by deception inducing Quinn Direct to pay out an insurance claim of €10,254 at Littlepace, Clonee, Co Meath.

He has further pleaded not guilty to harassing Christopher Kelly of Custom Creations in Trim and his father Patrick Kelly by telephone on dates between November 1, 2008 and May 31, 2009.

Opening the trial, prosecution counsel Melanie Greally, BL told the jury that they will hear evidence that Mr Fogarty had his high performance sports car, a Toyota Celica, insured for Third Party Fire & Theft, and was involved in a single vehicle collision on the M50 in January 2008.

The car, which cost Mr Fogarty €19,000, was towed to a car recovery yard in County Wicklow where it remained for several weeks.

Ms Greally said the jury will hear evidence from Christopher Kelly, who she described as a “disreputable” car business man, with whom Mr Fogarty came in contact with asking him to repair his car.

Mr Kelly undertook to repair the car and Mr Fogarty gave him €5,000 upfront for parts and labour. The money was paid into his father’s account.

“What ensued over the next eight to nine months was that very little was done to improve the condition of the car and this became a bone of contention in November 2008 when Mr Fogarty became irate that he had paid money but hadn't got the work he wanted done on his car,” explained Ms Greally.

She said there will be evidence the car was returned to Mr Fogarty for the first time in November 2008 and he was “deeply unsatisfied” with its condition.

The car was returned to him a second time after more work was completed but again it was not up to the standard he wanted.

Ultimately the car was handed back over to Mr Fogarty and it is the State’s case that unpleasant communication followed from Mr Fogarty towards Mr Kelly and his father Patrick through telephone calls, counsel said.

“It went way beyond what one would consider justifiable anger. It was dark and sinister, menacing and forceful threats and profane language was used,” said Ms Greally.

She explained the jury will hear evidence of a “manifestly false” letter sent to Quinn Direct to settle his insurance claim and claim just over €10,000 after Mr Fogarty reported his car stolen on April 15t, 2009.

In the letter to Quinn Direct, Mr Fogarty claimed the car had been stolen in the early hours of the morning from outside his grandmother's house.

He claimed the car was locked, in perfect condition and not involved in any crashes while he owned it and that he only had it one year.

The alleged deception became apparent in June 2009 after gardai began investigating the activities of Christopher Kelly, who confessed to his involvement in “some underhand car dealings such as stealing to order.”

“As a result of the engagement between gardai and Christopher Kelly, Paul Fogarty was arrested and interviewed,” said Ms Greally.

Giving evidence on day one of the trial, Christopher Kelly (30), who owns Custom Creations in Trim, said he agreed to repair the car for Mr Fogarty.

However, after working on the car for several months using second hand imported parts, he said Mr Fogarty was not happy with the car as it did not have the original bumper and alloy wheels

Mr Kelly said he took further steps to remedy the problem at the end of February 2009.

“I was involved in some underhand car dealings,” Mr Kelly admitted in court. “I was caught in possession of stolen cars and asked a person to get me a car that fitted the description of Paul Fogarty's and transferred all the parts to his car and that was the end of it,” said Mr Kelly.

The trial continues before Judge Sarah Berkeley and a jury. 

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