Solicitor pleads not guilty to deception

Tuesday 05 February 2013 23.18
Dennis McMahon pleaded not guilty to deception charge
Dennis McMahon pleaded not guilty to deception charge

A 59-year-old woman who accused her former solicitor of deceiving her out of €7,500, was paid €20,000 to drop the case against him.

Margaret Duggan from Ballina Co Tipperary is one of the main witnesses in a trial which has opened at Limerick Circuit Court.

Her former solicitor Denis McMahon, 58, with an address at Pembroke Road in Dublin has denied a charge of deception, in that he dishonestly induced her to hand over a bank draft for €7,500 with the intention of making a gain for himself.

It is alleged this happened at the offices of McMahon O'Brien Downes Solictors on Henry Street, Limerick on 27 November 2002.

The charge arises from a settlement Ms Duggan received in 2002 for a work-related injury.

Mr McMahon was her solicitor and told her on 22 October 2002 in court that the action was settled for €57,500.

She said she subsequently received a cheque from Mr McMahon for €65,000. He told her to go away with the cheque and come back with a bank draft for €7,500, made out to herself, which she thought was his fee.

She gave him the draft after he asked her to sign the back of it, and the cheque was cashed that day.

Three years later she wrote to Mr McMahon’s firm of solicitors asking questions about the settlement, and that she believed she should not have given Mr McMahon the bank draft because he had already got his costs, outlined at the trial as over €16,500.

She also wrote to the Law Society complaining about the matter and they forwarded her a letter from Mr McMahon in which he denying any wrongdoing, and he also denied receiving any bank draft from her.

She made a complaint to gardaí about the matter in November 2006, but withdrew that complaint in April 2008, when she received €20,000 from McMahon’s firm to drop the case.

She also signed a letter withdrawing the allegations, and subsequently told gardaí she was withdrawing the complaint.

Under cross-examination by Brendan Grehan, Ms Duggan said she was a silly, trusting and naive woman who would have trusted Mr McMahon with her life.

Mr Grehan said she was none of those things, and that herself and her husband were experienced litigators, and she understood full well that she was to give Mr McMahon €7,500 for dealings on behalf of her and her husband, which was to their advantage.