Nevin inheritance action opens
Catherine Nevin has always denied she had any involvement in the murder of her husband Tom Nevin. Photograph: The Irish Times
An application to deem that evidence from Catherine Nevin's murder trial can be used as part of a civil action aimed at stopping her from inheriting any of her late husband's estate has opened before the President of the High Court this morning.
The brother and sister of the late Tom Nevin, represented by George Brady SC, want the court to rule on a preliminary issue that evidence at Mrs Nevin’s trial, and her conviction, are admissible as part of their action to fully disinherit her as well as for damages over his wrongful death.
Mrs Nevin (61), who has always denied she had any involvement in the murder, disputes their claim. She is seeking an stay on the application.
This is based on an agreement with the late Mr Nevin's estate prior in 1998 that issues to do with inheritance would be stayed until after the criminal proceedings were completed.
Mr Nevin's family are opposed to the stay. Mrs Nevin was not present in court this morning.
Shortly after the case opened High Court President Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns adjourned the hearing in order to clarify certain issues including the current status of proceedings taken by Mrs Nevin in the criminal courts.
The hearing is expected to resume in the afternoon.
In their proceedings Patrick Nevin, Tynagh, Loughrea, and Margaret Lavelle, Ballinagran, Craughwell, both Galway, brother and sister of Mr Nevin, and administrators of his estate, argued that it would be illogical and an abuse of process if the conviction could not be used in a civil action.
In a counter-claim, Mrs Nevin sought declarations that she is entitled to these assets, or part of them, by virtue of survivorship and the laws of intestacy.
Late last year the application was heard by Mr Justice Roderick Murphy. However the judge agreed to excluded himself, on Mrs Nevin's request, after it emerged he was a member of the three judge Court of Criminal Appeal that had considered an application by her some years ago.
In 2000, Mr Nevin was convicted of murdering Tom Nevin at their pub, Jack White’s Inn near Brittas Bay, Co Wicklow, on March 19, 1996, when he received a single gunshot wound to the chest while seated at his desk.
She was jailed for life on that charge and also received a seven year sentence for soliciting three men to kill her husband in 1989 and 1990.
Her appeal against conviction was dismissed in 2003 while another bid to have her case declared a miscarriage of justice was also rejected.
An application to have her appeal referred to the Supreme Court on a point of exceptional public importance is pending before the CCA.