Building firm director gets jail sentence over speeding notice forgery
A Tyrone building company director has been jailed for six months after she was found guilty of forging the signature of an employee on a prosecution notice on two counts of speeding.
Mother-of-four Katherine McGuigan, of Garvagh Road, Dungannon, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice, namely forging the signature of Monica Lambe on a date between May 22 and June 13, 2013.
The 50-year-old defendant, who had several glowing references in court and had a previous clear record, was also found guilty after a three-day trial of an identical offence on dates between June 13 and June 29, 2013.
The two sentences are to run concurrently.
The court was told she carried out her actions on the instructions of her husband who was allegedly caught for speeding and was in danger of losing his licence.
And she tried to get her employee Monica Lambe to agree to allow her signature to be used on the notice.
Mrs Lambe did not agree and was subsequently questioned by police.
In jailing the company director for a six-month concurrent jail sentence on each offence, Judge Melody McReynolds said that aggravating factors were bullying of the injured party, Mrs Lambe, into swearing an untrue affidavit in an "attempt to impugn her own integrity to back up your lies".
The judge also noted the duration of the deception from June 2013 to the defendant's trial last month.
Judge McReynolds also remarked on the fact that Mrs Lambe was cross-examined and it was repeatedly suggested she was wrong.
"When untruthful suggestions are made against an honest person he or she is likely to struggle to avoid feeling that mud sticks even dishonest mud," she said.
The judge said Mrs Lambe had lost her job at an age when she would find it difficult to find a new one and her own confidence after being questioned in a police station will have been damaged.
Judge McReynolds said that the defendant had then refused to own up to the forgery.
In mitigation, the judge said the defendant was an employer with considerable family commitments.
The judge there were two separate offences before the court
Defence counsel Jim Gallagher said his client did not see her offence as something that would get Mrs Lambe in trouble but that would help get her husband out of trouble - but that she now accepted her guilt.