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Leading financial executive fails in bid to halt trial over alleged €1 million fraud

The alleged offences concern individuals who wanted to invest in property in the United States.

Image: Shutterstock

A LEADING FINANCIAL executive has failed in a bid to halt his trial over his alleged involvement in a €1 million property fraud.

William Kiely (49) with addresses at the Elms, Richmond Avenue South, Dartry, and Merton Walk, Mount St Anne’s, Milltown, Dublin 6, was charged at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court with 15 counts contrary to Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Theft and Fraud Offences Act.

Kiely later claimed in legal papers to have “moved on” since gardaí began investigating him over alleged offences which concern individuals who wanted to invest in property in the United States and which took place between August 2008 and February 2013.

Kiely – who was Director of Corporate Finance at global financial firm Cantor Fitzgerald Ireland for five years – had sought a judicial review on the decision to bring criminal proceedings against him on the grounds that the length of time that it took to prosecute him for the alleged offences meant his right to a fair trial would be breached.

In March this year, however, Ms Justice Miriam O’Regan at the High Court rejected Kiely’s application to prohibit the legal proceedings against him. Kiely later appealed Justice O’Regan’s decision to the Court of Appeal.

In a brief judgment issued today, Court President Justice George Birmingham dismissed Kiely’s application.

“A written judgment will be provided in due course,” Justice Birmingham said.

The case now moves to Dublin Circuit Court next week, where it is expected a trial date will be set.

At an earlier hearing, the three-judge court was told individual investors have claimed they lost amounts between €50,000 and €120,000 each.

Estimates of the total amount allegedly defrauded range from €750,000 to €1 million, the court was told.

Although gardai began investigating complaints against Kiely in 2012, he was not charged until July 2019.

In a written submission, lawyers for the appellant said that the “delay in proceedings is of such a magnitude that he is entitled to prohibition because he has moved on with his life”.

The submission also stated that Kiely has since “turned a corner” in his life.

Michael O’Higgins SC, for the appellant, said that no more than 15 statements had been taken by gardaí from investors since the investigation into his client began almost 10 years ago.

There was “no justification”, O’Higgins said, for “spinning out an investigation for years with that volume of workload”.

“This is something that could have been done adequately in six months,” counsel added. “The time to right the wrong has passed, and that is the argument I am making,” he said.

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Mr Justice George Birmingham noted that the alleged offences had taken place during the financial crash, when a number of complex fraud investigations were taking place.

“The answer to a lack of resources is to allocate more resources,” O’Higgins responded.

Conor McKenna BL, for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), told the court the case was listed for mention in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court next week, but no trial date has been set.

McKenna also said that he understands that Kiely will deny the charges. The DPP counsel said it was a “constitutional imperative to have a trial on the merits”.

“There are a number of victims who are entitled to have their day in court,” he added.

Although McKenna conceded there had been a “significant” delay to proceedings, he said Justice O’Regan was entirely correct to dismiss the judicial review.

Prohibition of proceedings, he continued, was only an appropriate response to “exceptional cases” where there had been an “egregious delay”. This was not that case, he said.

About the author:

Peter Doyle

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