An UNEMPLOYED Ennis man has failed to convince a judge that the €26,000 he received for ‘three trotters’ helped finance him purchasing a Toyota jeep for €43,000 in cash in €50 notes.
At Ennis District Court, Judge Mary Larkin has dismissed a fresh bid by Ned Doherty (32) of St Michael’s Park, Ballymaley, Gort Road, Ennis to have Gardai return his 20-2 Toyota Hilux jeep.
Judge Larkin said that she was “more confused than ever” after hearing about the various sums Mr Doherty is claiming to have used on the jeep’s purchase.
Judge Larkin said that the evidence from Mr Doherty was a mix of ‘don’t know’, ‘can’t remember’ and ‘don’t deal with money’.
Mr Doherty purchased the jeep in cash from a County Roscommon car dealer on February 23 2021 but it was seized 10 days later as part of a wider Garda operation that also involved the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) on March 5 2021.
Making the ‘police property application’ for the return of the jeep, solicitor, Daragh Hassett said that Mr Doherty was able to put the €26,000 he received in €50 notes for ‘three trotters’ – horses broken and ready for sulky racing – in a cash deal on January 4th 2021 with Gort man, Thomas Donovan towards the jeep purchase. In evidence in court, Mr Donovan confirmed the deal.
Mr Hassett said that the ‘three trotters’ deal was done on the basis “of a shake of the hands, there were no invoices”.
In evidence, Mr Doherty told the court: “We are travelling people and we like to deal in cash.”
Asked by Mr Hassett was there “anything dodgy” about the funds that bought the jeep, Mr Doherty replied ‘no’ and when Mr Hassett asked: “All above board?”, Mr Doherty replied ‘yes’.
Mr Hassett said that the source of funds for the purchase of the jeep came from savings, the sale of a mobile home and personal injury compensation awards to Mr Doherty and his wife, Marylin.
Mr Hassett said that his client has been without his jeep for two years now, and Mr Doherty “has not been charged and there has been no movement as far as I can see. The silence is deafening.”
Outlining the various amounts, Mr Hassett said that Mr Doherty received a personal injury award of €10,100 in 2011 and another €1,000 in 2012.
Mr Hassett said that Mr Doherty’s wife, Marylin received two personal injury award claims totalling €15,000 in 2012 and 2014.
Mr Hassett said, “The State is saying to my clients, ‘you have no money, you are on social welfare, the purchase has to have come from the proceeds of crime’, and Mrs Doherty is saying she has €15,000 from personal injury claims. She is saying that the money wasn’t frittered away.”
Mr Hassett said that sums of €8,000 and €3,000 were also taken out of two Doherty sons’ accounts ahead of the purchase.
He said that along with the €26,000 sale of the three trotters, Mr Doherty received an additional €12,000 from the sale of a horse in October 2020.
Sergeant Aiden Lonergan asked that the application be refused as the file following a complex investigation is with the DPP.
Sergeant Lonergan stated that this was the first time since the jeep was seized that Gardai have been presented with documentation around the source of funds for the €43,000 jeep.
Rejecting Mr Doherty’s bid to have the jeep returned, Judge Larkin said that “there is insufficient information to accede to your application”.
Judge Larkin said, “I am not satisfied with the evidence that I have heard to allow me to return the jeep.”
On the evidence of the funds Doherty provided to court, Judge Larkin said, “I have been asked to believe that €6,000 in 2012 was in a safe for nine years, €9,000 in 2014 was kept for seven years and €10,300 was stashed somewhere for 10 years. €1,000 in 2013 was stashed somewhere for eight years, €25,000 in 2013 was stashed somewhere for eight years.”