Saturday 20 January 2018

O'Brien seeks to halt trial over 'adverse publicity'

Tim Healy

BUSINESSMAN Breifne O'Brien claims he cannot get a fair trial on theft and deception charges because of adverse publicity.

The Cork-born financial adviser has been given permission by the High Court to seek a prohibition of his pending trial, over the publicity in both print and broadcast media.

He faces 45 charges of theft and deception over an alleged investment fraud. The District Court heard last September that 19 charges of theft involve sums totalling €11m from five individuals between 2006 and 2008.

Another 19 charges involve alleged deception of the same people. A further seven charges of deception involving €1.9m relate to one of those five people between 2003 and 2008.

Last November, he was sent forward for trial to the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Mr O'Brien (51), who denies the charges, claims it is not possible to get a fair trial due to adverse pre-trial publicity, Mr Justice Michael Peart was told.

Mr O'Brien's counsel, Patrick McGrath, said his client was seeking orders of prohibition and a stay on his trial because of the adverse publicity.

There was a "lengthy history" of newspaper clippings about him, Mr McGrath said.

Mr O'Brien, of Kilmore, Monkstown Grove, Monkstown, Dublin, is due to appear in the Circuit Court tomorrow when the case is for mention – but so far no date for trial has been set.

Mr Justice Peart granted Mr McGrath, who made the application on a one side only represented basis, leave to seek judicial review prohibiting the trial. Mr O'Brien was not in court.

Irish Independent

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