Solicitor acquitted in deception case

Fri, Feb 8, 2013, 00:00

A solicitor accused of deceiving a client out of €7,500 has been acquitted by direction of the trial judge.

Denis McMahon (58), a former partner at McMahon, O’Brien Downes Solicitors, had denied inducing Margaret Duggan (59) by deception to hand over a bank draft of €7,500, with the intention of making a gain for himself or others.

Judge Pauline Codd said a grave prejudice had been suffered by the accused because of the absence of crucial evidence.

Mrs Duggan said that she only had dealings with Mr McMahon the day her claim was settled and that the solicitor told her the settlement was for €57,500 and not €65,000.

Judge Codd said a crucial plank to the prosecution case was whether or not Mrs Duggan had been told by the late Séamus McKenna SC, who had represented her in the civil action, of her insurance settlement figure of €65,000.

The court heard that no statement was ever taken from Mr McKenna, who died in 2010, and no testimony could be presented to the trial. Judge Codd said this caused such prejudice that Mr McMahon was at risk of an unfair trial.