Ex-judge pleads guilty to new charge

Heather Perrin (61) is currently serving a two and half year sentence for attempting to deceive her elderly friend out of half of his estate while he was a client of her solicitors firm.

Heather Perrin (61) is currently serving a two and half year sentence for attempting to deceive her elderly friend out of half of his estate while he was a client of her solicitors firm.

Fri, Feb 22, 2013, 00:00

A former District Court judge already serving a prison sentence for deception will be sentenced in March after pleading guilty to a further charge of false accounting.

Heather Perrin (61) is currently serving a 2 1/2 sentence for attempting to deceive her elderly friend out of half of his estate while he was a client of her solicitors' firm.

Perrin appeared for arraignment before Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today after her solicitor applied to the court for a production order from the Dóchas Centre yesterday to allow her enter her guilty plea. A trial date which was scheduled for March has now been vacated.

Perrin of Lambay Court, Malahide today pleaded guilty that between May 25th, 2004 and February 2nd, 2009 within the State dishonestly with the intention of making a gain for herself or another or of causing a loss to another she did falsify an account, namely an eight page document entitled “Cash Account, Estate of Gary Doyle Deceased”.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring set a sentence date on March 13th when full facts will be heard in the case.

Perrin was convicted by a jury following an eight day trial last November of deceptively inducing Thomas Davis to bequeath half of his estate to Sybil and Adam Perrin at her office on Fairview Strand on January 22nd, 2009.

The verdict marked the first time in the history of the State that a judge had been found guilty of a serious crime. Perrin offered her resignation to the President prior to her sentencing.

At the sentence hearing last November Judge Mary Ellen Ring said it was one of the most serious breaches of trust to come before the courts and that there was little credit to be found for Perrin.

Judge Ring said it is an aggravating factor that the offence occurred just before she became a judge and noted that she continued her involvement with the victim’s legal affairs while she was on the bench.

She said Mr Davis appeared more than capable of giving evidence but it was an aggravating factor that he had been made go through the trial process at his age. The judge said he also had to deal with allegations from the defence that he had simply forgotten that he left half their estate to the Perrin children.

She called Mr and Mrs Davis "a loving and generous couple" who trusted Perrin "because of a lifetime of shared experiences". She said this was shown by the fact that they left Perrin’s children €2,000 even after the scam was uncovered.

The judge said there were some offences where a jail term is unavoidable and it was regrettable that she had no other option but to jail Perrin. Judge Ring said she would have handed down a three and a half year term if it wasn’t for Perrin’s health difficulties. After she imposed the two and a half year sentence Perrin broke down in tears along with her family and supporters.

She spent five minutes being comforted by her husband Albert Perrin before being led away to begin her sentence. Perrin ran a solicitors practice in North Dublin before being appointed a District Court judge in February 2009, a month after she carried out the scam.

Perrin had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to deceptively inducing Mr Davis to bequeath half of his estate to Sybil and Adam Perrin at her office on Fairview Strand on January 22nd, 2009. She faced a maximum jail term of five years..