Saturday 23 March 2019

Woman accused of exaggerating insurance claim 'absconded from court' - gardai

Winnifred Lawrence of Moorfield Grove Clondalkin
Winnifred Lawrence of Moorfield Grove Clondalkin
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

A WOMAN accused of exaggerating an insurance claim over an injury absconded from a court on the day the civil action was due to be heard, gardai have said.

Winnifred Lawrence (69), who is charged with deception, left the court before the hearing of her civil claim when gardai came to speak to her after the insurance company's suspicions were raised, it is alleged.

A judge has now decided her criminal case is too serious to be dealt with at Blanchardstown District Court and has adjourned it. Lawrence intends to plead guilty to the charge, her lawyer said, and she will be sent forward to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court when the prosecution is ready to proceed.

Ms Lawrence, with an address at Moorfield Grove, Clondalkin, is charged with dishonestly by deception inducing a woman to do an act “to wit believe you were another woman”, with the intention of making gain.

The offence, under Common Law, is alleged to have happened at the Blackrock Clinic, Rock Road, Blackrock, Co Dublin, on December 7, 2017.

Defence solicitor Matthew Kenny told Judge Paula Murphy the DPP had consented to the case being dealt with at district court level subject to jurisdiction being considered. A summary of the case had been given on an earlier date and Judge Murphy had asked for more details.

Gda Sgt Maria Callaghan said she wished to clarify that while the court had heard previously that the accused had left the clinic without seeing a doctor, she in fact had attended the scheduled appointment that had been set up by the insurance company.

A report was compiled and following this, the insurance company became suspicious and contacted the gardai.

A garda had attended the civil courts for the hearing of her claim and spoke to her on that day, Sgt Callaghan continued.

He knew her as Winnifred Lawrence but she had given another name, which was the name on the claim.

The accused “absconded from court” that day, Sgt Callaghan said.

Judge Murphy refused jurisdiction to deal with the case. Mr Kenny said the accused was “anxious to dispose of the matter” and the case could be sent forward to the circuit court on a signed plea on guilty on the next date.

This mean there would be no need for the prosecution to compile a book of evidence, he said.

Judge Murphy remanded the accused on continuing bail, to appear in court again on March 7.

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