The celebrity chef Conrad Gallagher has been found not guilty of all charges at the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin.

The 32-year-old had been on trial for three counts of stealing paintings from the Fitzwilliam Hotel in Dublin, and one of selling them under false pretences.

The jury returned its unanimous verdict after deliberating for less than two hours.

Emerging from court this afternoon, Mr Gallagher said he was pleased and excited by the verdict.

His solicitor, Carol Haughton, said Mr Gallagher had maintained his innocence since these charges were first levelled against him.

At long last, Mr Haughton said, he has been vindicated in that regard. He has spent a torrid few months, he has been physically and mentally drained as a result of the whole episode.

He said he hoped Mr Gallagher's innocence would be as widely publicised as his alleged guilt.

Asked by reporters was he going to return to America, Mr Gallagher said he did not know yet and asked had he any plans to open any new restaurants he said he did not have any money left.