Judge on trial over will is accused of 'lies and prevarications'

Tue, Nov 20, 2012, 00:00

A judge on trial for deception has used a defence of “lies, half-truths and prevarications”, the State has alleged.

The remarks were made during the closing speeches in the trial of Judge Heather Perrin (60), accused of trying to trick her long-time friend, Thomas Davis, into leaving half his estate to her children while he was a client of her firm of solicitors.

Dominic McGinn SC told the jury it could not accept a word of what Judge Perrin of the District Court had said because of her “unreliability and changing story”. He also accused her of colluding with a witness in preparing their testimony and planting a “red herring” in the evidence to mislead the investigation.

Judge Perrin’s defence had called into question the memory of Mr Davis, who is in his 80s. They pointed to an episode during the trial when Mr Davis could not identify himself in a photograph on his first attempt.

The jury has begun considering a verdict and spent just over a hour deliberating before being sent home for the night. It will resume deliberations this morning.

Judge Perrin, Lambay Court, Malahide, has 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.

Mr McGinn told the jury the issue at trial was whether it was Mr Davis’s intention to leave his residual estate, worth about €1 million, to his nieces, or whether he changed his mind and decided to add in Judge Perrin’s two children as equal beneficiaries.

He said all credible evidence showed Mr Davis did not intend to benefit the Perrin children in his will, aside from leaving them cash sums of €2,000 each.

He said there was no suggestion Mr Davis was making up the allegations because he did not have any motivation.

“Changed story”

Mr McGinn said Mr Davis was reliable because he was “consistent and unshakable” in his evidence before and during the trial, unlike Judge Perrin, who had changed her story.

He said Judge Perrin had initially claimed her secretary had made a mistake with the will but later said she had drafted the document in line with Mr Davis’s wishes.

He said a doctor had examined Mr Davis and found him to have a good mental capacity and no memory problems.

Patrick Gageby SC, defending, told the jury that sometimes “things that look suspicious aren’t suspicious” and that there had been cases where the evidence seemed very strong but later turned out to be false.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring advised the jury that Judge Perrin “is not entitled to any more or less consideration because of her position”.