Redmond to stand trial on corruption charges in the new year

 

The former Dublin assistant county manager, Mr George Redmond, is to face trial on corruption charges in the new year.

Mr Redmond (78) has decided not to appeal the High Court's rejection last October of his claim that he could not get a fair trial because of adverse publicity. A date for the trial, which will be heard in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, will be set early in the new year, according to legal sources.

The names of a number of prominent politicians, including a former TD and a former councillor, are expected to feature prominently in the trial.

Mr Redmond is accused of four offences under the Prevention of Corruption Acts 1906 and 1916 and under the Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act 1889, which allegedly occurred when he was head of Dublin county council in the 1980s.

Two charges relate to the sale of a strip of land in Palmerstown, Dublin, by the council. It is alleged Mr Redmond corruptly received a gift of money from a garage-owner, Mr Brendan Fassnidge, in 1987/88 as an inducement or reward in relation to the sale.

The other two charges related to the compulsory purchase by the council of 167 acres at Buzzardstown and Coolmine in 1985/86.

Mr Redmond was due to have been tried last June, but this was delayed when he brought separate proceedings claiming he could not get a fair trial because of the extensive media coverage of his affairs.

However, Mr Justice Kearns ruled that while there had been adverse publicity in the case, he was not satisfied that Mr Redmond had established that this would lead to a real risk of an unavoidably unfair trial.

The judge also ruled that Mr Redmond should pay the costs of his action, which were estimated at over €100,000.

Mr Redmond has told the Flood tribunal he received hundred of thousands of pounds from landowners and developers when he was a local authority official in the 1970s.

Among those he says gave him money are the builders Brennan and McGowan, the developer Mr Michael Bailey and Joseph Murphy Structural Engineering. All three parties were heavily criticised in the interim report of the tribunal published in September.

In April 2000, he was fined £7,500 after pleading guilty to 10 charges of failing to make tax returns. Previously, he made a settlement for £782,000 with the Revenue Commissioners.

It is not clear whether Mr Redmond will be called to give evidence at the tribunal at a future date.

Mr Justice Flood's interim report, published last September, made no reference to the former planning official.

In recent years, he has suffered ill health and underwent heart surgery.

In spite of the massive focus on allegations of planning corruption at the tribunals, prosecutions under the existing corruption acts are virtually unheard of.