Jury retires to consider verdict in Heather Perrin trial

Monday 19 November 2012 22.47
Heather Perrin has pleaded not guilty
Heather Perrin has pleaded not guilty

The jury in the trial of a District Court judge accused of attempting to deceive her friend out of half his estate has retired to consider its verdict.

Heather Perrin, 60, of Lambay Court, Malahide, Dublin, is accused of deceiving Thomas Davis into leaving half his €1m estate to her two children while she was his solicitor in January 2009.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring told the jury that the accused is entitled to no more or no less consideration because of her status as a judge.

The Dublin Circuit Criminal Court had previously heard that the Davis' often referred to Ms Perrin's children Sybil and Adam as their children and they wanted to leave them something in a will.

However, Mr Davis told the court that he only gave instructions to leave the children €2,000 each and did not sign a will to include them as major beneficiaries.

Ms Perrin has pleaded not guilty to deceptively inducing Mr Davis to bequeath half of his estate to her children on 22 January 2009.

She was a solicitor for Mr Davis and his wife before being appointed a judge in 2009.

In his final submission to the jury today, prosecuting counsel Dominic McGinn said Ms Perrin had deceived Mr Davis and hid from him the true terms on his will.

He said the judge had created a web of lies, half truths and prevarication and that they cannot accept a word of what she has said.

However Defence Counsel Patrick Gageby said if the jury believed the evidence of Ms Perrin's former secretary Pauline Ball, that she had absolutely no doubt the will had been read out to Mr Davis before he signed it, then that was the end of the case.

He also said that the document which included Ms Perrin's two children as major beneficiaries would have in the future been challenged in court.

It was signed by Ms Perrin's husband and secretary, she was the executor with power of attorney and therefore the "whole thing" was bound to fall apart.

Defence counsel also pointed out that miscarriages of justice do occur in cases where it seems terribly obvious someone is guilty.

He said the mistake in this case was for the prosecution to put all the evidence together and say it convicts.