Man never agreed to leave half of his estate to judge's children, court hears

Tue, Nov 13, 2012, 00:00

The alleged victim of a District Court judge accused of deception has said he never consented to leaving half of his estate to her children.

Heather Perrin (60) is accused of attempting to deceive Thomas Davis into bequeathing a large portion of his estate, worth approximately €1 million, to her two children while she operated a solicitors’ practice. Mr Davis, who is in his 80s, spent the day in the witness box giving evidence of the alleged attempt to alter his will without his knowledge. He described a meeting with Ms Perrin before she was appointed a judge, in which he signed a will but was not given a chance to review it.

Bequeathing estate

Ms Perrin of 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 Davis told prosecuting counsel Dominic McGinn SC that he knew Ms Perrin for many years because his wife was heavily involved in the Girls’ Brigade with her. He said he also knew her two children since they were young. In January 2009, he gave instructions to Ms Perrin concerning a new will and went to her office on January 22nd to sign it.

The prosecution presented Mr Davis’s will which bequeathed €2,000 each to various churches and €2,000 each to Adam and Sybil Perrin if Mr Davis and his wife passed away.

It also ordered his house be sold and the proceeds divided up between his two nieces and the rest of his estate to be divided equally between his two nieces and the Perrin children.

Witness signatures

Mr Davis identified his own signature on the document as well as those of two witnesses. These were the accused’s husband Albert Perrin and her secretary, Pauline Ball.

The witness said it was a short meeting because Ms Perrin had other urgent work. He said he did not get to read the document nor was it read to him. He also denied Mr Perrin or Ms Ball were in the room at the time. He said he never gave instructions to leave half his residual estate to Ms Perrin’s children and he wouldn’t have knowingly signed any document which did so.

He said he was not given a copy of the document until several weeks later. He said his document corresponded with his original wishes.

Mr Davis said later that year he began receiving letters from the firm which took over Ms Perrin’s practice.

He said Ms Perrin wrote responses. He said he read and signed these before they were sent: “We didn’t know any better.”

He said that when he received a letter from the law firm querying his will, he went to their office. He said he made a new will that day. He continued to bequeath €2,000 each to her children.

Cash gifts

Mr Davis agreed he and his wife had given large cash gifts to their nieces over the years. Mr McGinn previously told the jury they will hear evidence that Ms Perrin told gardaí Mr Davis wanted to split up his estate because he was unhappy with how his nieces spent their money.

Under cross-examination from Patrick Gageby SC, the witness agreed he forgot things sometimes. He agreed his wife has memory problems. He said it was possible she referred to Ms Perrin’s children as “our children” when signing the will.

The trial continues before Judge Desmond Hogan.