Executive opposes trial on alleged fraud offences that may hit €1m

Investors claim losses of between €50,000 and €120,000 each on US property ventures

In a submission to the Court of Appeal, lawyers for the appellant said that the ‘delay in proceedings is of such a magnitude that he is entitled to prohibition because he has moved on with his life’. File photograph: The Irish Times

In a submission to the Court of Appeal, lawyers for the appellant said that the ‘delay in proceedings is of such a magnitude that he is entitled to prohibition because he has moved on with his life’. File photograph: The Irish Times

 

A leading financial executive is fighting a decision to send him for trial on alleged theft and fraud offences that could total €1 million.

William Kiely (49), with addresses at the Elms, Richmond Avenue South, Dartry, and Merton Walk, Mount St Anne’s, Milltown, Dublin 6, was charged at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court with 15 counts contrary to section 4 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act.

The alleged offences concern individuals who wanted to invest in property in the United States, the Court of Appeal was told on Monday.

The court was also told that the alleged offences took place between August 2008 and February 2013, and individual investors have claimed they lost amounts between €50,000 and €120,000 each.

The total amount allegedly defrauded ranged from €750,000 to €1 million.

Although gardaí began investigating complaints against Mr Kiely in 2012, he was not charged until July 2019, the court was told.

Fair trial

Mr Kiely – who was director of corporate finance at financial firm Cantor Fitzgerald Ireland for five years – later sought a judicial review on the decision to bring criminal proceedings against him on the grounds that the length of time that it took to prosecute him for the alleged offences meant his right to a fair trial would be breached.

In March this year, however, Ms Justice Miriam O’Regan at the High Court rejected Mr Kiely’s application to prohibit the legal proceedings against him.

Mr Kiely is now appealing Ms Justice O’Regan’s decision.

In a written submission to the Court of Appeal, lawyers for the appellant said that the “delay in proceedings is of such a magnitude that he is entitled to prohibition because he has moved on with his life”.

The submission also states that Mr Kiely has since “turned a corner” in his life.

Michael O’Higgins SC, for the appellant, told the three-judge court that no more than 15 statements had been taken by gardaí from investors since the investigation into his client began almost 10 years ago.

There was “no justification”, Mr O’Higgins said, for “spinning out an investigation for years with that volume of workload”.

“This is something that could have been done adequately in six months,” counsel added. “The time to right the wrong has passed and that is the argument I am making.”

Complex investigations

Mr Justice George Birmingham noted that the alleged offences had taken place during the financial crash, when a number of complex fraud investigations were taking place.

“The answer to a lack of resources is to allocate more resources,” Mr O’Higgins responded.

Conor McKenna, for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), told the court the case was listed for mention in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on December 15th, but no trial date has been set.

Mr McKenna also said that he understands that Mr Kiely will deny the charges.

The DPP counsel said it was a “constitutional imperative to have a trial on the merits. There are a number of victims who are entitled to have their day in court.”

Although Mr McKenna conceded there had been a “significant” delay to proceedings, he said Ms Justice O’Regan was entirely correct to dismiss the judicial review.

Prohibition of proceedings, he continued, was only an appropriate response to “exceptional cases” where there had been an “egregious delay”.

“That is not this case,” he said.

Judgment has been reserved.