CATHERINE NEVIN has lost a court attempt to have her criminal conviction for murdering her husband discounted from a civil case about her late husband’s inheritance.
Today the High Court sided with the brother and sister of Tom Nevin, who had taken a High Court action to disinherit her from Tom’s estate.
The couple owned Jack White’s Pub in Brittas Bay, where Tom was killed in 1996 without leaving a will. The pub was sold for IR£620,000 (the equivalent of €787,238) in 1997.
Nevin was convicted of murder at the Central Criminal Court in 2000, and lost subsequent appeals at the Court of Criminal Appeal.
She has since filed papers, however, seeking leave from the Court of Criminal Appeal to have an appeal heard at the Supreme Court on a case of exceptional public importance relating to a legal aspect of her earlier appeal. The most recent such instance was in mid-February.
She continues to claim her innocence, and made a counter-claim seeking to have her criminal conviction ruled inadmissible in the civil proceedings about removing her from the inheritance of Tom’s estate, which included cash, property and a life assurance policy.
She further argued that an agreement reached between herself and the plantiffs in this case, Tom’s siblings Patrick Nevin and Margaret Lavelle, in January 1998 to the effect that they would not proceed with a civil case over Tom’s estate until criminal proceedings had been exhausted.
‘Contrary to logic’
Today the President of the High Court, Justice Nicholas Kearns, ruled it would be “contrary to logic and common sense” if a criminal conviction was allowed to be kept entirely separate from a civil case so closely related to it.
Justice Kearns also found that Tom Nevin’s siblings had fulfilled their agreement not to bring the case until criminal proceedings had concluded, given that Nevin had lost two subsequent appeals to her conviction.
He ruled, however, that it was still open to Catherine Nevin to attend court during the civil cases and to argue that she had nothing to do with her husband’s death.
The ruling means that the civil case will not merely be a repeat of the original murder trial, which continued for eight weeks in 2000, and that the criminal conviction can be presented by Tom Nevin’s family in evidence.