Judge goes on trial accused of deception
A District Court judge has gone on trial accused of trying to deceive an elderly man into leaving half his estate to her children.
Judge Heather Perrin (60) ran a solicitor’s firm before being appointed to the bench and was asked by her friend and client Thomas Davis to help draw up a will. Judge Perrin is alleged to have altered the will without his knowledge to benefit her son and daughter.
The alleged deception came to light when a new firm of solicitors took over Judge Perrin’s practice when she was made a judge. They thought it strange that so much of Mr Davis’s estate, worth about €1 million, was left to the Perrin children.
When confronted Judge Perrin initially claimed it was a mistake by her secretary, but then told gardaí that she created the will in keeping with her client’s wishes. Judge Perrin, Lambay Court, Malahide, has pleaded not guilty to deceptively inducing Mr Davis to bequeath half of his estate to Sybil and Adam Perrin at an address on Fairview Strand on January 22nd, 2009.
Senior counsel Dominic McGinn, prosecuting, told the jury they would hear from Mr Davis who is in his 80s and was a long-standing client of the accused’s law firm. He said in early 2009 Mr Davis decided to draft a will. He instructed Judge Perrin that in the event of his death and that of his wife, he wanted to leave €2,000 each to Ms Perrin’s children, as well as sums of money to various churches.
Mr McGinn said the rest of the estate, including a house in Finglas, €750,000 from the sale of a house in Gorey, and a large sum of money on deposit with EBS, was to be divided up between Mr Davis’s nieces.
Counsel said there would be evidence that Mr Davis signed the will in Ms Perrin’s office but did not read it over because the accused was in a rush and he trusted her. Several months later he received a copy of the will, which complied with his instructions but was unsigned and undated.
Mr McGinn said after the accused was appointed as a judge in February 2009, the firm that took over her practice sent several letters to Mr Davis querying several legal matters. He said Mr Davis replied with several increasingly irate letters asking the firm not to contact him again and demanding the return of his legal documents and jewellery, which was stored in the firm’s safe. Mr McGinn said these letters were drafted with the help of Ms Perrin.
The prosecution’s first witness was a partner with the firm O’Hanrahan Quaney, which took over Ms Perrin’s practice. Juliana Quaney gave evidence of the correspondence between the firm and Mr Davis.
Ms Quaney said a man named Tom Waller called to the firm several times attempting to pick up Mr Davis’s possessions. She said she refused to hand them over to him and was “very concerned” as Mr Waller said he did not know Mr Davis.The trial continues on Monday.