The trial of a District Court judge accused of attempting to deceive an elderly man out of half his estate has heard that the alleged victim is not suffering from any memory problems.
Heather Perrin (aged 60) is accused of tricking Thomas Davis into bequeathing half his €1m estate to her two children while he was a client of her solicitors firm.
The trial has previously heard testimony from Mr Davis, who is in his 80s, that he wished to leave the vast majority of his estate to his two nieces who live in England. He said he only intended to leave €2000 each to the Perrin children.
On the sixth day of the trial, prosecuting counsel Dominic McGinn SC asked Mr Davis’ GP, Dr Michael Malone, if Mr Davis is suffering from any memory problems.
Dr Malone said that Mr Davis has good mental capacity and added that he recently told gardaí that Mr Davis is “mentally fine”.
The trial has already heard that when the alleged deception came to light, Ms Perrin claimed the mistake was on the part of Mr Davis and his wife and that she had drawn up the will in line with their wishes at the time.
Ms Perrin of Lambay Court, Malahide has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to deceptively inducing Mr Davis to bequeath half of his estate to Sybil and Adam Perrin at her office on Fairview Strand on January 22, 2009.
She was made a judge in February 2009 after running a solicitors practice in Fairview of which Mr Davis was a long-standing client.
Dr Malone told the court that he has signed a number of documents attesting to the mental capacity of Mr Davis and his wife to understand the significance of handing over power of attorney to a solicitors firm.
He said that on January 22, 2009 he was contacted by the accused who asked him to complete a document attesting to the mental capacity of Mr Davis.
He agreed with Mr McGinn that she did not ask him to carry out any examination of their mental capacity but said that he did this before completing the document.
He said on April 30, 2010 he was contacted by O’Hanrahan Quaney solicitors, who took over Ms Perrin’s practice, asking him if he had any concerns about the couple’s mental capacity and he told them he did not. He said he later signed a document to that effect.
He told Patrick Gageby SC, defending, that in September 2010 difficulties with Mrs Davis’s mental capacity began to manifest themselves medically. He said that this happened quickly and that problems with her intellect have progressed since then.
The case continues before Judge Mary Ellen Ring and a jury of eight men and four women.
Deception trial: Elderly man ‘not suffering from memory problems’
November 14, 2012
Man never agreed to leave half of his estate to judge’s children, court hears
November 13, 2012
The Irish Times
The alleged victim of a District Court judge accused of deception has said he never consented to leaving half of his estate to her children.
Heather Perrin (60) is accused of attempting to deceive Thomas Davis into bequeathing a large portion of his estate, worth approximately €1 million, to her two children while she operated a solicitors’ practice. Mr Davis, who is in his 80s, spent the day in the witness box giving evidence of the alleged attempt to alter his will without his knowledge. He described a meeting with Ms Perrin before she was appointed a judge, in which he signed a will but was not given a chance to review it.
Ms Perrin of Lambay Court, Malahide, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to deceptively inducing Mr Davis to bequeath half of his estate to Sybil and Adam Perrin at her office on Fairview Strand on January 22nd, 2009.
Mr Davis told prosecuting counsel Dominic McGinn SC that he knew Ms Perrin for many years because his wife was heavily involved in the Girls’ Brigade with her. He said he also knew her two children since they were young. In January 2009, he gave instructions to Ms Perrin concerning a new will and went to her office on January 22nd to sign it.
The prosecution presented Mr Davis’s will which bequeathed €2,000 each to various churches and €2,000 each to Adam and Sybil Perrin if Mr Davis and his wife passed away.
It also ordered his house be sold and the proceeds divided up between his two nieces and the rest of his estate to be divided equally between his two nieces and the Perrin children.
Mr Davis identified his own signature on the document as well as those of two witnesses. These were the accused’s husband Albert Perrin and her secretary, Pauline Ball.
The witness said it was a short meeting because Ms Perrin had other urgent work. He said he did not get to read the document nor was it read to him. He also denied Mr Perrin or Ms Ball were in the room at the time. He said he never gave instructions to leave half his residual estate to Ms Perrin’s children and he wouldn’t have knowingly signed any document which did so.
He said he was not given a copy of the document until several weeks later. He said his document corresponded with his original wishes.
Mr Davis said later that year he began receiving letters from the firm which took over Ms Perrin’s practice.
He said Ms Perrin wrote responses. He said he read and signed these before they were sent: “We didn’t know any better.”
He said that when he received a letter from the law firm querying his will, he went to their office. He said he made a new will that day. He continued to bequeath €2,000 each to her children.
Mr Davis agreed he and his wife had given large cash gifts to their nieces over the years. Mr McGinn previously told the jury they will hear evidence that Ms Perrin told gardaí Mr Davis wanted to split up his estate because he was unhappy with how his nieces spent their money.
Under cross-examination from Patrick Gageby SC, the witness agreed he forgot things sometimes. He agreed his wife has memory problems. He said it was possible she referred to Ms Perrin’s children as “our children” when signing the will.
The trial continues before Judge Desmond Hogan.