Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Jailed ex-judge gets two more years

Former District Court judge Heather Perrin was convicted of false accounting

A disgraced former judge already in jail for deception has had another two years added to her sentence for false accounting.

Heather Perrin is currently serving a two-and-a-half-year term for inducing an elderly client and life-long friend to leave half of his million-euro estate to her two children while he was a client of her solicitors' firm.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring, at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, has sentenced Perrin to another two years for falsifying the account of an estate with the intention of making a gain between May 2004 and February 2009.

Perrin, 61, was the first member of the judiciary in the history of the state to be convicted of a serious crime and retired from the District Court bench days before she was jailed last year.

The court heard that the criminal case centred on an inheritance left by a man to his grandson, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Her sentence, being served at An Dochas women's prison with some of Ireland's some notorious female inmates, was backdated to when she pleaded guilty on February 22 and will run alongside her current jail term. She is due for release in about 18 months.

Detective Sergeant Patrick Linehan, of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, said investigators became aware of the discrepancies after her firm was taken over when she was appointed a District Court judge in 2009.

The client's house had been sold for 150,000 euro in 2002, which the boy's mother thought was held in trust in a high interest savings account, but it was seven years later before just over 116,000 euro of the money was transferred into an EBS account held for the child's benefit from Perrin's general client account.

The court heard that twice over the years the woman asked Perrin for some of the money, once for a holiday and again for her son's communion, but was told the account was controlled by the Courts Service.

Judge Ring was told the single charge related to 4,416.50 euro of that money which Perrin took to pay for legal fees relating to the boy's sibling in a family law matter, although the boy's mother told gardai she had applied for legal aid and that Perrin had offered to take the case as a favour.

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