Newstalk
Newstalk

08.47 2 Dec 2013


Share this article


Struck-off solicitor Thomas Byrne has been jailed for 12 years for defrauding clients and stealing €52 million from the banks.

Byrne (47) with an address at Mountjoy Square in Dublin gave no visible reaction to the sentence but he smiled briefly when Judge Patrick McCartan wished him the 'best of luck' before he was led away from court.

Handing down a sentence of 16 years with 4 years suspended, Judge Patrick McCartan said the scale of wrongdoing was colossal, all the more so because Byrne was a solicitor, a profession which has served the country well.

'The scale of damage to the profession must be considerable', he said.

He described the theft from the banks as 'staggering', and noted that they 'required careful planning and execution' and were not a 'simple dip in the till'.

The judge accepted Thomas Byrne was not a man of extravagance but said it would be wrong to suggest he had gained nothing from what occurred.

He said it was evident that the separated father of three had managed through his 'wheelings and dealings' to amass a significant portfolio of property in his own name. Almost nothing has been recovered.

He was convicted by a jury on 50 counts of fraud, deception and theft between 2004 and 2007 at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last month. There was evidence he transferred his clients' houses into his name and then used the properties as collateral on bank loans.

One forged deed of transfer implied that Kathleen Fahy (91) had transferred her home on Bunting Road in Walkinstown to Mr. Byrne a month before her death.

Ms Fahy's daughter Vera McGrane said the transaction was impossible because she was caring for her mother at her home in Cork at that time.

In his evidence at the trial, Thomas Byrne accused Mrs. McGrane and other clients of lying.

Speaking to Newstalk after today's sentence was imposed, Vera McGrane said she felt vindicated and while she was not happy to see anyone going to prison she believed Thomas Byrne had determined his own fate.

During his trial, Thomas Byrne gave evidence that he was being threatened for money by his business partner, a property developer called John Kelly.

Judge McCartan said he got a fair measure of that story through the evidence of Barbara Cooney, a junior solicitor at Thomas Byrne's practice in Walkinstown who acted as whistleblower and called in the Law Society.

In October 2007, she was confronted by Mr. Kelly and Mr. Byrne when she discovered her signature had been forged on a document.

The judge noted that she had the courage and presence of mind to stand up to Mr. Kelly - the man Thomas Byrne claimed had run him like a puppet.

The former solicitor has received consecutive sentences amounting to 16 years with 4 years suspended.


Share this article


Read more about

News

Most Popular

Live: Title

Now playing

00:00:00 / 00:00:00
Added to queue
Removed from queue

On Air

Share

Share


Up next

Episode title
Show
Duration

You currently have no podcasts in your queue.

Go to podcasts

On Air

The Tom Dunne Show

The Tom Dunne Show

22:00-00:00

Share

Up next

BEST OF NEWSTALK

BEST OF NEWSTALK

00:00-06:00

Share

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

06:00-06:30

Share

BREAKFAST BUSINESS

BREAKFAST BUSINESS

06:30-07:00

Share

NEWSTALK BREAKFAST

NEWSTALK BREAKFAST

07:00-09:00

Share

THE PAT KENNY SHOW

THE PAT KENNY SHOW

09:00-12:00

Share

LUNCHTIME LIVE

LUNCHTIME LIVE

12:00-14:00

Share

MONCRIEFF

MONCRIEFF

14:00-16:00

Share

THE HARD SHOULDER

THE HARD SHOULDER

16:00-19:00

Share

OFF THE BALL

OFF THE BALL

19:00-22:00

Share

THE TOM DUNNE SHOW

THE TOM DUNNE SHOW

22:00-00:00

Share

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Share on