Toomebridge father and son deny safety glass scam accusations
Pair suspected of supplying fake fire-resistant safety glass for buildings across the UK and Ireland
A father and son have denied a number of fraud charges relating to them allegedly passing off ordinary glass as fire-resistant safety glass to be fitted in dozens of buildings including a hospital, church and schools.
Seamus Laverty, 58, and 26-year-old James Laverty, both of the same address at Deerpark Road, Toomebridge, appeared at Antrim Crown Court on Wednesday, where they pleaded not guilty to 14 charges of fraud by false representation involving glass worth over £150,000.
Originally they were each charged with 39 charges of fraud by false representation, one charge of converting criminal property and one of possessing criminal property.
However, nine of the charges of fraud by false representation are no longer being proceeded with after Judge Gordon Kerr QC agreed to a 'no bill' application by defence lawyer Charles McCreanor, QC.
Buildings involved in the alleged counterfeit fire glass scam are in Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and mainland UK, with the offences alleged to have occurred between 2010 and 2013.
The charges the Lavertys have pleaded not guilty to relate to 14 charges of fraud by false representation at places including Titanic Quarter, Belfast, The French Rooms, Bushmills and Tallaght Hospital, Dublin.
The others were: Brooklands Care Home; Lisburn Road Methodist Church; Almac Laboratory; Strathearn School; National University of Ireland, Galway; DW Sports, Leicester; Colliemore Apartments, Dublin; Urban Retail Village, Camden; DW Sports, Gainsborough; St Mary's National School, Co Meath and Scoil Oibheir Naofa, Laytown.
No bills were granted on fraud by false representation charges regarding the following places: Welcome Centre, Belfast; Marks & Spencer, Bangor; Marks & Spencer, Sprucefield; Gelvin Grange; Number 16 Boiler House; Boojum, Galway; KFC, Milton Road, Edinburgh; Hamleys, Cardiff and domestic premises in Cookstown.
Mr McCreanor said there will be further discussions to see if 'no bill' applications will be made surrounding other charges and that will be mentioned at the court next week.
Both accused were wearing suits as they stood side by side in the dock.
The court was told the trial could last three weeks and has been listed for January and the men were released on continuing bail.
At a previous hearing in the case at Antrim Magistrates Court earlier this year, defence lawyer Aaron Thompson said the case involved alleged sums in excess of £300,000 and related to alleged delivery of non-fire resistant glass.
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.