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Garda accused of fraud and threats to car dealer

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 a claim of €10,254 at Littlepace, Clonee, Co Meath.

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

Prosecution counsel Melanie Greally said Fogarty, who had his Toyota Celica insured for third party, fire and theft, was involved in a collision on the M50 in January 2008.

The €19,000 car was towed to a recovery yard in Co Wicklow.

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

Mr Kelly undertook to repair the car and Fogarty gave him €5,000 for parts and labour.

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

The car was returned to Fogarty in November 2008 and he was "deeply unsatisfied" with its condition.

MENACING

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

Ultimately the car was handed back to Fogarty and it is the State's case that unpleasant communication followed from 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 said the jury will hear of a "manifestly false" letter sent to Quinn Direct to settle his insurance claim and claim just over €10,000 after Fogarty reported his car stolen.

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

The trial continues before Judge Sarah Berkeley and a jury.

hnews@herald.ie


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