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Laverty dad and son allegedly passed off ordinary glass as fire-resistant to be fitted in hospitals and schools

By Nevin Farrell

Published 07/06/2016

Locations mentioned in the charges include: the Ulster Hospital in Belfast; Bessbrook Health Centre in County Armagh and Maynooth College.
Locations mentioned in the charges include: the Ulster Hospital in Belfast; Bessbrook Health Centre in County Armagh and Maynooth College.

A father and son stood side by side in court on Tuesday charged with a £300,000 fraud in which they allegedly passed off ordinary glass as fire-resistant glass to be fitted in dozens of buildings.

Seamus James Laverty (58) and James Laverty (26), both of the same address at Deerpark Road, Toomebridge, appeared at Antrim Magistrates Court jointly charged with 39 charges of fraud by false representation, one charge of converting criminal property and one of possessing criminal property.

Buildings involved in the alleged counterfeit fire glass scam were on both sides of the border in Ireland and also in GB and the offences are alleged to have occurred between 2010 and 2013.

Locations mentioned in the charges include: the Ulster Hospital in Belfast; Bessbrook Health Centre in County Armagh and Maynooth College.

There were also churches like Maghera Parish Church; schools including Royal School Armagh; leisure centres, apartments and universities.

They are both further charged with one count of converting criminal property in 2012, namely cash totalling £23,887.88 by purchasing items associated with a rally car and one charge of possessing criminal property - £10,000 cash - in 2013.

It is understood the alleged fraud is connected with a now dissolved firm called Glassworks Ireland Ltd which was based at Hillview Business Park in Randalstown.

On Tuesday both men appeared in court, wearing suits, for a Preliminary Enquiry and they stood outside the dock as their cases were returned for arraignment to Antrim Crown Court in September and they were each released on £500 bail by District Judge Alan White.

Aaron Thompson, defence barrister for Seamus Laverty said there are 1,000 pages of depositions and exhibits but although there were two sections of the papers which were incomplete he was not objecting to the holding of the Preliminary Enquiry.

He said other employees were interviewed and they were "not whistleblowers" because police had approached them for interview.

At a previous court, Mr Thompson said the police received a complaint and after employees were interviewed the PSNI "cherry-picked" the two Lavertys.

Also at the earlier hearing, as part of the investigation he said glass had to be cut and forensically examined.

At Tuesday's court, Mr Thompson said the case involved sums in excess of £300,000 and related to alleged delivery of non-fire resistant glass.

A prosecuting lawyer submitted there was a case to answer which defence Aaron Thompson and James Laverty's barrister Ben Thompson said they were making no contrary submissions to.

Both defendants replied "no" when asked if they wished to say anything in relation to the charges at this stage.

Fire resistant glass is made to withstand higher temperatures than ordinary glass in the event of an incident in a building.

Locations named in the charges include: Ulster Hospital; Maghera Parish Church; Royal School Armagh; Greenvale Leisure Centre.

Magherafelt High School; Almac laboratory; Downpatrick Civic Centre; Carrick Primary School; Bessbrook Health Centre; Queen's staff accommodation; Design Centre Omagh; Strathern School.

Granville Manor Assisted Living Residence; National University of Ireland Galway; Brooklands Care Home; Lisburn Road Methodist Church; Clanmill Housing Association; Gelvin Grange; Boojum, Galway;

Marks and Spencer, Bangor; Marks and Spencer, Sprucefield.

DW Sports, Leicester; Colliemore Apartments, Dublin; Urban Retail Outlet, Camden; DW Sports, Gainsborough; KFC, Milton Road, Edinburgh.

Hamleys, Cardiff; Welcome Centre, Belfast; Titanic Quarter, Belfast; The French Rooms, Bushmills, St James House, Dublin; St Mary's National School, County Meath; Scoil Oilibheir Naofa, Laytown; Renold Building at the University of Manchester; Maynooth College;

Tallaght Hospital, Dublin.

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