Byrne granted legal aid for court hearing last October

Judge tells former solicitor: ‘It’s good to see you’

Former solicitor Thomas Byrne, whose legal team applied successfully yesterday to Judge Patrick McCartan for an additional day’s legal aid to cover a hearing in the High Court last October. Photograph: Collins Courts.

Former solicitor Thomas Byrne, whose legal team applied successfully yesterday to Judge Patrick McCartan for an additional day’s legal aid to cover a hearing in the High Court last October. Photograph: Collins Courts.

 

Former solicitor Thomas Byrne has appeared in court for a legal aid applica- tion in connection with his trial for stealing €52 million from banks and defrauding 13 clients out of their houses or money.

Byrne (47) received legal aid for the duration of his 27-day trial – the largest theft case in the history of the State. He was sentenced in December to 16 years with four suspended.

His legal team applied yesterday to Judge Patrick McCartan for an additional day’s legal aid to cover a hearing in the High Court last October. That hearing was an application by the DPP to obtain a statement given to the Commercial Court ahead of Byrne’s criminal trial. During the application, his legal team objected to the statement being handed over.

At Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday, Judge McCartan greeted Byrne, saying there was no need for him to be in court for the brief hearing. “But it’s good to see you,” he added, as Byrne smiled.

Gerardine Small, for Byrne, asked the court for extra legal aid to cover the defence of that application. The DPP had said it was matter for the court.

The judge asked, joking, “So you want to be paid for obstructing the course of justice?” before granting the request.