Saturday 7 December 2019

Guilty plea 'to get back at brother'

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

A JURY at the trial of two men accused of forging a dead farmer's will heard that only a person with a "deep-seated animosity" would plead guilty to an offence "to get back at" his brother and friend.

William O'Leary (49) of Kilhile, Arthurstown, New Ross, Co Wexford, and Noel Hayes (59) of Ramsgrange, New Ross, deny forging the will of Matthew Hayes (82), on an unknown date between December 25, 1998, and January 8, 1999.

Matthew Hayes died on Christmas Day of 1998, leaving 160 acres of land and monies in various accounts to Noel Hayes in a document purported to be his final will and testament.

William O'Leary's brother, Charlie O'Leary, pleaded guilty to forging the will in 2009 but he claims the two other men were also involved.

Yesterday, defence counsel Patrick Gageby said: "Who in their right mind would plead guilty to an offence as a vehicle to get back at his brother and his friend? Only a person (with) a deep-seated animosity."

Prosecution counsel Philip Sheahan said Charlie O'Leary had pleaded guilty "to atone for the wrong that he had done". The jury is expected retire on Tuesday to consider a verdict.

Irish Independent

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