Case over evidence for civil action against Catherine Nevin to resume

Friday 15 February 2013 10.50
Catherine Nevin has always denied any involvement in her husband's murder
Catherine Nevin has always denied any involvement in her husband's murder

An application to deem that evidence from Catherine Nevin's murder trial can be used as part of a civil action aimed at stopping her inheriting any of her late husband's estate will resume tomorrow.

The brother and sister of the late Tom Nevin, represented by George Brady SC, want the court to rule on a preliminary issue that evidence at Nevin's trial, and her conviction, are admissible as part of their action to fully disinherit her as well as for damages over his wrongful death.

Nevin, 61, who has always denied she had any involvement in the murder, disputes their claim.

Shortly after the case opened today, High Court President Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns dismissed a request by Nevin's lawyers to stay the action.

The judge also refused an application to allow Nevin to attend court.

The stay was sought arising out of an agreement with the late Mr Nevin's estate prior in 1998 that issues concerning the inheritance of his estate would be put on hold until the criminal proceedings were completed.

Her bid to have her conviction deemed a miscarriage of justice was dismissed by the Court of Criminal Appeal in 2010.

Solicitor for Nevin, Anne Fitzgibbon, argued that her client wants to have a point of law arising out of the CCA's decision referred to the Supreme Court.

Her original application to be allowed have her appeal heard by the Supreme Court was struck out. However, a new application has now been submitted.

Mr Nevin's family had opposed the stay. Mr Brady gave evidence to the court that it had been agreed last December with legal representatives then acting for Catherine Nevin that this preliminary issue would proceed.

Ms Fitzgibbon said neither she nor her client was aware of this agreement.

In his ruling, Mr Justice Kearns said he was satisfied from his investigations in relation to the status of Nevin's proceedings in the criminal courts that the issue before him "should now proceed".

The arrangement between Tom Nevin's estate and Catherine Nevin had been fulfilled and the estate was now entitled to get their case on.

The court was further satisfied that there had been an agreement between lawyers that the application should go ahead.

The judge then refused an application for Nevin to be produced before the court. He said that she was not required at this point in time.

He adjourned the matter to tomorrow so Nevin's lawyers would not be at a disadvantage.

In their proceedings Patrick Nevin, Tynagh, Loughrea, and Margaret Lavelle, Ballinagran, Craughwell, both Galway, brother and sister of Mr Nevin, and administrators of his estate, argued that it would be illogical and an abuse of process if the conviction could not be used in a civil action.

In a counter-claim, Catherine Nevin sought declarations that she is entitled to these assets, or part of them, by virtue of survivorship and the laws of intestacy.

Late last year the application was heard by Mr Justice Roderick Murphy.

However, the judge agreed to excluded himself, on Catherine Nevin's request, after it emerged he was a member of the three-judge Court of Criminal Appeal that had considered an application by her more than a decade ago.

In 2000, Catherine Nevin was convicted of murdering Tom Nevin at their pub, Jack White's Inn near Brittas Bay in Co Wicklow, on 19 March 1996, when he received a single gunshot wound to the chest while seated at his desk.

She was jailed for life on that charge and also received a seven-year sentence for soliciting three men to kill her husband in 1989 and 1990.

Her appeal against conviction was dismissed in 2003.